The film Fast Food Nation begins with a company official of fast food company, Don Anderson trying to find an idea that can help him create new item to sell. When he starts the trip however, he starts to be exposed to the hidden stories behind the fast food system. From then on the film introduces several issues relating to the fast food industry from the meat factory where animals are abused and slaughtered to fast food restaurants where disgusting products only get worse. In this stream of production of fast food hamburger, Fast Food Nation points out how people no longer focus on what they are consuming as “food”, but they focus on fulfilling their desires.
The most obvious desire the food connects is the gluttony; the desire to eat. In order to satisfy the desire to eat what is pleasing to the palate, people started to disregard what they are putting in to their own body. In order to make the fast food even more appealing, the fast food company has research team working on chemicals which appeals to appetite. For example, Don Anderson and one of the researchers share conversation about adding a specific type of chemical in order to add the sense of lime for the product which people believe to have lime in it. Even the new item which is introduced in the end, “the hickory smoke big one”, is created with chemicals that people have never heard of. The message is simple the food is not a real “food”.
Interestingly, the film shows different desire, not of American, but of the immigrants from Mexico. The desire of Mexican immigrants is not about eating tasty food, but to be accepted in the American community. The scene that effectively describes this tendency of immigrant is the date of two immigrants; they go to have a dinner at a restaurant filled with Americans, and order Chinese chicken salad. After the supper is over, the boyfriend talks about how delicious the food was when girl friend disagrees; in fact, she claims that the chicken was cold. The reason why two people have opposing opinion about same dish is because their desires are different. The boy friend desires to be fitted in the American society thus he continues to talk about who he would like to get an American brand truck. Deluded by his own the desire, the boy friend purposely blind own eyes to see the truth. On the other hand, the girl friend didn’t wish to immigrate to America in the first place and does not fully wish to become American. Therefore, only she is able to see the food as consuming nutrition which was not cooked properly.
The film finishes with most realistic ending possible. Although company’s official found out about the corruption within the fast food production, he surrenders himself to the logic of events around him. Similarly, even though both book and film Fast Food Nation pin points out the problems of production system and faults on the food itself, people will continue to buy McDonalds the next day.