Don Henderson is a corporate marketing whiz at Mickey's Fast
Food Restaurant chain, home of 'The Big One'. When he discovers
that contaminated meat is getting into the frozen patties
of the company's best-selling burger, his investigations uncover
more than he bargained for...
Food Nation could
have been an impressive expose of the fast food industry.
Instead the above synopsis basically tells the entire story.
Henderson's investigations don't exactly "uncover more
than he bargained for". All he really does is confirm
what is suspected - that there is contaminated meat in the
food chain. But then how many burgers that you buy from supermarkets
have traces of bone and guts in them?
this movie doesn't really inform anyone of anything. While
it touches on areas of serious interest, it doesn't really
delve any further. Where's the facts and figures?! How many
migrant workers are smuggled into the USA to work illegally?
Are teenage workers being exploited? Do the chains really
make their staff input information on their tills about the
ethnicity of their customers? Does meat in some of our burgers
really contain sh*t and if so which companies were responsible.
funny isn't it? Cow sh*t (in general - although god knows
what chemicals the ranches pump into their cows) is not technically
that harmful to humans, especially once it's been cooked.
I loved the way that the fact that minute traces of cow faeces
in a burger is seen as revolting. We eat so much processed
food these days which has carcinogenic material deliberately
added into it, but not many people feel physically sick at
the thought of that. But tell them there's faeces in their
burger and they'll come close to vomiting.
this film goes for shock value without providing any real
meat (if you'll excuse the pun). The abattoir kill floor scenes
are quite revolting - as they are supposed to be; the sh*t
in the burgers is supposed to make you feel sick; there's
even a bloody accident scene where one of the migrant workers
looses a leg - come on! How clichéd is that?!?!
the end of the day I felt that director Richard Linklater
was trying to shock as much of his audience as possible without
really upsetting the companies he was attacking. While it's
all well and good to have a made up burger company to represent
the other big companies, this ends up playing out like a work
it have been a better film if Linklater had spent a bit more
time trying to get in on the ground floor of one of the big
fast food chains? How difficult would it have been to have
to take the issues that he does with this film and then go
and investigate it properly.
the slaughter house was actually one that was filmed outside
of the US. Linklater (on the interview that forms one of the
extras on this DVD) admitted that it was cleaner than the
abattoirs he'd seen in the US. If that was the case (and he'd
seen a lot of bad abattoirs in the US) why didn't he do some
underground filming in a poor abattoir, instead of the carefully
staged scenes we get.
away the impressive line up of actors and you've got yourself
a pretty dull film. If you want to see how it's done you want
to get hold of Morgan Spurlock's vastly superior Super
Size Me - which also used Eric Schlosser's
Fast Food Nation as inspiration.
include a 15 min interview with Linklater; 21 min interview
with Schlosser; and the trailer.
the fast food industry that Linklater is trying to attack,
he neatly packages a cosy little manufactured film that is
not as wholesome as he'd have you believe. In fact, this film
is so watered down that I'm surprised McDonalds didn't sponsor