RICHARD LINKLATER’S FAST FOOD NATION — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

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All Richard Linklater has done throughout his stellar if often overlooked career is make one excellent film after another. He’s worked in a variety of genres but always with that effortlessly casual style, and Fast Food Nation easily ranks as one of his best, and most curiously least discussed pieces of work. It’s sort of like The Insider in that, take something that a vast majority of the American populace is addicted to, in this case fast food instead of cigarettes, and nobody is going to really want to hear about it from a cinematic entertainment standpoint. This film is fantastic, topical, and purposefully alarming, featuring an insane cast of stars and character actors including Patricia Arquette, Luis Guzman, Bobby Cannavale, Bruce Willis, Greg Kinnear, Kris Kirstofferson, Wilmer Valderrama, Paul Dano, Lou Taylor Pucci, Ashley Johnson, and Catalina Sandino Moreno, with Linklater basing his scapel sharp screenplay on Eric Schlosser’s best selling novel, and taking no prisoners at any point during his tapesty style narrative. The bloody and disgusting sequences inside of the cattle slaughterhouse are painful to watch, Cannavale is absolutely fantastic as an evil letch taking advantage of a seriously corrput system, and the “There’s shit in the meat” sequence between Kinnear and Willis is absolutely hilarious. This is a very dark satire and all too honest indictment of American life and it’s ridiculous how low of a profile this film has.

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