I feel rather stupid with this rating thing now, as I have only once given something a non-positive rating. Fast Food Nation won't change this streak, unfortunately.
I was really knocked over by this film—it's one of the first that I feel makes good use of multiple narrative storytelling to allow a sense of sinisterness to emerge somewhat organically, and to give its component parts the right values. I haven't seen Traffic, but films like Syriana or any of the three Iñárritu/Arriaga films (yes, even Amores Perros) or Crash seem ultimately, and unintentionally, centrifugal—the center cannot hold in any of them, especially not in Crash or Babel, because the director tries to generate so much momentum through a gradually accelerated cutting between narratives and the simultaneous buildup of each individual narrative that eventually, every one of them is pointing in different directions.
Fast Food Nation on the other hand, is remarkably centripetal—Linklater seems to be circling throughout the film, discharging some narratives early (the Kinnear one) and altering others at odd points (the Amber narrative, for instance), all preparing for the kill shot, the cows being slaughtered at the end of the film. This is the proper way to orchestrate a multi-narrative film, and I hope other directors take note.