Fast Food Nation, The DVD
I missed Fast Food Nation when it was in theaters here for all of two weeks, so pardon the late review. All of the themes were redundant for the three people I watched it with; I can’t say there was much learning going on.
I recommend watching this movie with meat-eaters, as their meat-eating is evidence that there are some issues that they are either choosing not to think about, or simply don’t know about. And for a smattering of education regarding a dozen or so issues, this is your film. If you want to whet the appetite of others for expanding their consciousness and their ethics regarding their food consumption, Fast Food Nation is probably a great vehicle.
Here are some of the issues raised:
- Who works in a slaughterhouse and why?
- How did factory farming get to be what it is today? Who are the parties involved and why would they knowingly cause so much suffering to people and animals (the why part rhymes with "greed")?
- Where does the average fast food burger come from, and what’s in it?
- How has the relationship between people and the land changed in the last 50 or 60 years?
- What is an effective way to let a corporation know that its actions are unacceptable?
- Are there good people and bad people?
- How complicit are we as individuals in "the machine" and are we obligated to do something about that?
A common criticism of Fast Food Nation is that it takes on too much (teenage sex is also in there, as is drugs). That’s a matter of preference. For me, the film is realistic in that it touches on the complexities of an issue that can easily be oversimplified. My only beef (!) with the DVD is with The Meatrix shorts that are in the extras, as their message is that we should be eating free-range animal products rather than none at all. But Eric Schlosser, the author of the book Fast Food Nation, is not a vegetarian, and his goal was never to get people to stop eating meat.
If you’re a vegan, watching Fast Food Nation won’t change your life. But watch it with a non-vegan, and maybe, with a little post-film discussion, it’ll change theirs.