For all of his triumphs, nowadays Richard Linklater seems to churn out movies with all the vigor and frequency of taking a shit. Not that this particular one of his, based on the book by Eric Schlosser, is terrible and rank like the grimy brown stuff. But it’s not something you’re likely to enthusiastically re-examine.
Think of it like one of those instructional videos you saw as a child: here’s how you brush your teeth, here’s how you wash your face, here’s how you make BBQ sauce with chemicals, here’s how you get your leg chopped off by a giant machine, here’s how you spill a cow’s shitty intestines all over the yummy meat you’ll be eating in that “Mickey’s Big One” tomorrow, here’s how one big shot corporate exec gets disillusioned when he finds out that the burgers he hawks are, well, full of shit.
Believe it or not, even though this film is peppered with stars and celebrity “actresses” like Avril Lavigne—who pretends to be an animal rights activist that wears hideous eye-makeup and bleaches her hair far too often—all the shittery can get rather dull. Regardless, it is riveting cinema-verité: most of the scenes are filmed in an actual slaughterhouse. Gnarly, right? I just would have liked to see a real cow’s head get chopped off. When it comes to that intestine-wrenching glory shot, Linklater holds back.