20th Century Fox Movie •••½Picture •••½Sound •••• Extras •••½
With the help of co-screenwriter/director Richard Linklater, novelist Eric Schlosser has turned his broadside against the American food industry into an engaging and sobering ensemble film. It focuses on the people who make, sell, and eat burgers - from illegal immigrants to working-class teens to corner-office executives - and the transfer deftly deals with all the many types of lighting that are used to shape the picture's mood. Contrast and detail, even in the darkest images, are very good. And the sound is superb, with precise, convincing effects right down to the crunch of Greg Kinnear's fries. The surround channels aren't very active, but they do create a convincing atmosphere in the meatpacking plant. A good commentary by Linklater and Schlosser focuses more on social context than filmmaking, while the making-of featurette is about as loose and garrulous as a Linklater film. And three clever "Meatrix" cartoons attack the industry even more savagely than the movie. [R] English, Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish, Dolby Surround; letterboxed (1.85:1) and anamorphic widescreen; dual layer.