The film tries to pass itself off as traffic for the fast food industry. Traffic had emotional well versed and thought out intricate storylines. Where as with fast food nation it’s storytelling to me in this very minute. Just like industry they are portraying sloppy and artificial. I really felt no connection to most of the storylines or character except for one.
The only really good story is the Mexican immigrant storyline. I know it has a downbeat ending and that is more truthful to life then a tacked on happy ending. but don’t know maybe it’s because I like Catalina Moreno’s character so much that I felt like she was really one of the few pure characters in this movies. I felt like she was being punished. Her slutty sister prospers. So does her sister’s asshole user boyfriend. but her boyfriend get’s injured and her she has to suffer indignity to indignity to make her character sorrowful and really drive the point Home. this seems to be a habit of her’s she always seems to play the innocent victim I can’t wait to see her sink her teeth into a really meaty role with shades of being a wickedly interesting person.
If they would have made that story line the only one it would have been “Maria full of grace 2” (The Traffic Of People Smuggling) only without the drug smuggling. But it would have at least made this movie a little more interesting overall. Another interesting scene is the teen storyline was an interesting aspect of both parents and daughter working dead end jobs to make ends meet. but the daughter is more responsible then the mother’s roles are reversed. Then after one conversation her ideology of life has changed suddenly. it wasn’t really a big persuasion either. I just feel this move missed it’s mark.
Now don’t get me wrong. I understand the other storylines were to help us show how this industry works. The problems but the teenage storyline seemed senseless except to show the ideals of youth and how easily they can be tainted. The Greg kinnear storyline was interesting but it would have been nice to have some closure instead of his eyes being opened and him just accepting that’s how things are. The film just ends again I’m guessing to show this is just a slice of life things don’t workout as planned. People die people change but time and the day and life goes on. Like a passive message movie.
I seem to have a problem with Richard linklater. Sometimes I think he makes beautiful films that I can rave about for days. but then he makes others which I can’t stand to sit through a second time because I barely survived the first. He made this film while working on “a scanner darkly” and maybe it shows because the college kids storyline could have been taken from “a scanner darkly” or “waking life” but he made “tape” a great movie while making “waking life”a piece of crap. So that is no excuse maybe it’s just the work he seems to be making movies at a faster pace one after another. Maybe it distillted his talent behind the camera or made him a commercial filmmaker rebel. “Let me make my films with my messages I’ll promise you box office plus a bad news bears remake to boot”
There was a sex scene in this movie. i’m not complaining but it was out of place.
Also there are two scenes of extreme violence that might turn your stomach right before the ending. which if you have a weak stomach skip the last 10 minutes of this film you see the inside of a slaughter house and all details involved In making meat. This is not one I like I would say out of all of his films I only really liked three but at least he tries to be original but more often then not he misses his mark.
The only other connection to traffic is the character like in many Robert altman films literally pass-by each other. but the difference is in this film they rarely engage each other.