Fast Food Nation (15)

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The Independent Culture

The whole point of Linklater's early films - Slacker, Dazed and Confused - was that they were about lives without goals or shape, and their form reflected that. Here, he tries to use the same roving, indeterminate form to deliver a polemic, and it is not surprising that it doesn't work. Fast Food Nation is a lightly fictionalised ("dramatised" would be too strong a word) version of Eric Schlosser's best-selling account of the US fast-food industry, showing how it ruins the lives of Mexican immigrant workers, burger-flipping teenagers, ranchers and even its own executives. The stories lack shape, and the procession of famous faces detracts from the low-key, realist tone. Overall, too, the dispirited tone - set by the recurring image of frozen meat patties on a conveyor-belt - seems to defeat its political purpose.