Fast Food Nation in book form was brave and powerful in its 'no punches pulled' expose behind the glossy marketing and perfect looking meals of the Fast Food industry. The book offers a solid wall of evidence for use in discussion and debate.
When I heard that the book was being turned into a film I wondered how it would turn out. Documentaries in movie form can often be dry. Then I heard talk of them turning it into a novel and to be honest that was a very good move. The film was informative, interesting and gripping.
We start with a scene inside a Mickey's restaurant, the fictional fast food restaurant used throughout the film. We see a happy glossy family getting ready to settle into their lovely family meal. The camera pans into the burger to draw back the curtain on the industry and one is catapulted through the worlds of illegal immigration, cheap labour, the meat industry and frankly, crappy food.
For me the best moment is when they are discussing the smell of a forthcoming burger...'more lime' says the exec to which the scientist replies 'well I held back on the Turpenoline but can bring more in to bring out the lime.' Nice! Sounds lovely.
The story follows three key characters: the student working at the Mickey's restaurant, the Mexican immigrants sneaking in for a better life only to end up working for the meatpacking corporation that supplies Mickey's and finally the senior exec trying to get to the bottom of allegedly tainted meat in Mickey's burgers.
The film is kind of a blend between the Charlton Heston classic 'Soylent Green' blended with the recent docu-smash 'March of the Penguins'. Well worth seeing but there are a couple of times when the faint-hearted are advised to look away.
The movie is out in the UK now and was directed by Eric Schlosser and Richard Linklater. It was produced by Participant Productions and BBC Films and has a star studded cast lending credibility to help penetrate the mainstream including Avril Lavigne, Bruce Willis and Patricia Arquette to mention a few.