Fast Food Nation is an indictment of the fast food industry,
specifically focusing on hamburgers. The film begins by showing how Mexicans
are smuggled into the country to work in the slaughterhouses, and demonstrates
the terrible conditions there. Other parts of the film focus on the retail
Although it was made from a non-fiction book, it is not a documentary, but
a fictional narrative. The film was supposed to be held together by a
storyline about the marketing director for a burger chain who was sent to
inspect a meat packing plant in order to find out why their hamburger meat
contained cow shit. The slaughterhouse employees include two Mexican sisters.
The unmarried sister screws a foreman to get an easy job. Lacking that option,
the married one quits the packing plant after one night, but her husband
stays. The retail side of the operation is seen through the eyes of a bright
young woman cashier.
The fictional overlay is uninvolving, and the film's lessons never get
beyond the obvious. It should be unsurprising to most viewers that
slaughterhouses do not treat cows or illegal immigrants very well, or that
fast food chains do not treat employees very well. It is only marginally
surprising that cash registers send every keystroke of every order to
corporate headquarters, along with demographic information on the customer who
placed the order.
Some people found value in this effort, but I am not one of them, despite
the fact that I agree with the message that fast food is dangerous, and that
the condition exists because of corporate greed. The film does make its
points, but just barely, and nothing about it would help to persuade the
unconvinced or edify the uninstructed.
If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to
explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by
our definition, a
C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs
and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a: