...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

March 22, 2007

Fast Food Nation - 6

Eric Schlosser's book has been a bestseller for a few years now. Director Richard Linklater worked with Schlosser to make this into a film. The book (which I haven't read) is more of an expose of the fast food industry, its inner-workings, and the dangers this poses to society. The film uses this information but tells a number of interconnected vignettes and characters to tell it in a more storied way. The main characters are a corporate exec (Greg Kinnear), Mexican immigrants (Wilmer Valderrama and Catalina Sandino Moreno - from the very good Maria Full of Grace) who work at a meat packing plant, and a high-schooler (Ashley Johnson) who works at Mickey's and is thinking about the implications of her work (there are many cameo roles including: Bruce Willis, Avril Lavigne, Kris Kristofferson, Ethan Hawke, Lou Taylor Pucci, and Luis Guzman). The film does not shy away from being like a documentary in that it has a clear message to it's viewers: stop giving your money to corporations who steal a part of your humanity by separating you from the land and the food that you ingest. Put simply, the film is a critique of America, and the inhumanity of "the machine" that is mass culture. Unfortunately, viewers have already decided what they are going to do, and I doubt that the film would persuade many to change (It would need some moral basis, which contemporary culture has not found any consensus on). An interesting film with a rather intense ending on the killing floor of the meat plant. The question to ask is: what is the aim of our culture and what are we doing to get there?

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