“Fast Food Nation” is a film directed by Richard Linklater and it was released in the year 2006. This is one of those films, which provide new sources of thinking to a generation. This film deals with a large number of topics, which are old but still existing on our planet. Among these topics the mentionable ones are gender, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation and oppression.
The film also shows that although being different parts of the social strata – these things are actually well related with each other. They act not only in the small communities but also throughout the world. There is no bar for these topics among the developed and developing countries in the present day world. “Fast Food Nation” upholds the problems, which are old enough to have been erased by now. But as a matter of fact, they still loom large in the human societies of all standards.
Don Anderson is the main character of the movie. He is the famous Anderson who is known for the preparation of “Big One” of Mickey’s hamburger. This shows how the protagonist of the film is connected with the world of fast food.
The main thing around which the film is constructed is to judge whether these businesses are honest or not. Anderson is not a bad human being but as a matter of fact he does not seem to know everything that is associated with his business. He finds one fault with the products of his company and travels to Cody in Colorado to trace the source of these bad and unhealthy ingredients in the products.
Cody in Colorado is the center for the preparation of all the products of Mickey’s. Very soon Anderson comes to know about the faults that are actually taking place while manufacturing the products of his company. These are some of the most horrible truths waiting for him. The film has dealt with some other complicacies as well. Among them, the most important one is the exploitation of the illegal immigrants. People come to America to win a good fortune from various corners of the world.
Mexico is one of these countries from where a number of illegal immigrants come in search of jobs. Very soon after entering the country they are exploited by the white settlers of the United States of America. Fast food culture has given birth to a huge industry in this country and most of the immigrants are taken in for the jobs that are available in this industry. Cheap labor is the main reason why the companies are always interested in taking these employees. By doing this, they can also earn a huge amount of profit within short time. (Linklater, et al, 2006)
The tagline of “Fast Food Nation” says “The Truth Is Hard To Swallow”. In a way this film introduces the audience with the modern day world where almost every vice is present in the society just as they used to exist in the past. The presence of cow manure in the Mickey’s product is highly symbolic as it shows the commonly found tendency to live by cheating on others. A fast food nation like USA today looks after only the benefits from the business and not after the quality of service they are providing the customers with. This is the harsh truth, which Don Anderson discovers in his own company while visiting Cody in Colorado.
“Fast Food Nation” is a movie that concentrates on many of the recent problems, which we come across in the modern world. Apart from that there are also other problems, which are not felt by us. Some of the downtrodden people have to face these truths in their lives. This is really unfortunate as we talk about the overall development of the world we act in a very hypocritical way.
According to some of the well known critics “Fast Food Nation” is a well made angry movie which vents out the idealistic wrath on the wrong way in which the nation like USA is traveling towards a so called progress. It is obviously a credit going to Richard Linklater for the fact that he has chosen such a sensitive subject on which the economy of USA is dependent to a great extent.
The glamour-less style of the movie is one of the most important symbolic, which is followed throughout the movie. We all know that America is a country of glamour and this is why a movie based on this country is hoped to be flashing with glamour and style. Unlike all other movies, “Fast Food Nation” is an entirely anti-glamour movie where all the characters are the dwellers of a very indifferent land. Truth hidden beneath the glamour is the main motive of this movie and this is why Linklater has focused more on incidents rather than the glamorous aspect of the film. (Morris, 2006)
Linklater is very much successful in taking the audience to the root of the problems. He takes the audience to the slaughterhouses where raw materials for hamburger are produced. Visiting these places the audience is able to go through a series of events, which are revealing about how USA still deals on the grounds of race, gender and ethnicity. The Mexican immigrants are nothing better than the cows, which are slaughtered for the production. They are also exploited to a huge extent.
By connecting to the story of the Mexican border Linklater actually introduces the audience with another horrible truth, which is looming large in the country. The country, which boasts of its democracy, is itself a system of exploitation and this is something, which Fast Food Nation deals with very carefully. Uniglobe is the meat plant where the team of Mexican workers joins.
This is the place where the white Americans take the full advantage over the Mexicans as they have come in the country obtaining illegal process. It is very shocking to see a white that works as the floor supervisor threats the Mexican workers to kill them through the slaughtering machine unless they work properly.
This show of rudeness opens up the horrible way in which the white people in American society are still dealing with the Mexicans. Money is the main thing, which draws the poor Mexicans to this vast land of USA where they have neither identity nor respect. There is a scene in the movie where a Mexican falls inside the slaughtering machine and loses his hand, which is chopped by the blade. The terrible scene is something, which agitates the audience to the core.
Fast Food Nation not only focuses on the macro system of the society but also on the micro system where the workers are exploited at the same rate. We see the troubles, which are faced by Sylvia, the Mexican young woman who starts working as a hotel room cleaner. She faced huge problems in the slaughterhouse of Uniglobe where her husband and sister continue to work.
The dangers of crossing the border are one of the most important elements, which the movie has dealt with. It shows the extent of risk, which the Mexicans are ready to undertake for their survival. Throughout the film it has dealt with huge problems in modern America. But the most important thing about them is the fact that everything, which happens in the life of the Mexican friends, is also the parts of the greater American life. Exploitation and all the other associated elements in the movie are actually representing the wholesome picture of the United States of America. (Mother Jones, 2006)
The use of satire in the film is a main thing, which consolidates the theme even more. There are actually three narrative parts that have been used in this movie. The pattern of the movie is very much like the documentary films, which shows the true picture of the world and easily deal with even some of the most controversial topics. Apart from human cruelty, animal cruelty is also an integral part of the film. However, the movie also concentrates on the matter of sexual orientation, which is a big issue in today’s America.
Amber, the role played by Ashley Johnson, faces problems seeing the difference of sexual orientations among her friend. She asks her close friends not to meet cute looking boys, believing that they practice homosexuality. This is somehow associated with the slaughterhouse atmosphere and the theme thus becomes more convincing.