© Senator/Central

Fast Food Nation
U.S.A. 2006

Opening 1 Mar 2007

Directed by: Richard Linklater
Writing credits: Eric Schlosser, Richard Linklater
Principal actors: Greg Kinnear, Patricia Arquette, Avril Lavigne, Ethan Allen

Have you ever wondered why your Big Mac is so cheap? Would you consider paying a little more for it if you thought the extra money went to help the lives of the people who prepared it and to provide more humane slaughtering procedures for the animals which provided the meat for it? Director Richard Linklater has based his movie on Eric Schlosser’s best selling novel of the same name. He doesn’t answer these questions but instead shows us what is involved in getting that patty onto your polystyrene plate. Greg Kinnear plays Don Henderson, an energetic young executive with a promising future. When tests show that the E coli bacteria is present in the burgers, he is sent from Company Headquarters to its factory in Colorado to discover why this should be. Much of the work in such factories and slaughterhouses is done by illegal immigrants from Mexico, who risked everything for a better life in the U.S.A. Their wages are higher than anything on offer in Mexico but they do a ghastly job in apparently the most dangerous working conditions in America. As hideous injuries are relatively commonplace and healthcare is prohibitively expensive, immigrants discover that they haven’t found their promised land. Farmers aren’t happy either, they watch helplessly as good grazing land is sold off to real estate developers. Animal rights activists from the nearby college meanwhile have the mistaken idea that setting the animals free will solve the whole problem.

Mr. Kinnear is wonderful in this movie and there are great cameo performances from Bruce Willis and Kris Kristofferson with fine supporting performances from Patricia Arquette, Avril Lavigne and Ethan Allen. (Jenny Mather)

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