Hot Docs 2023: Our Review of ‘The Lebanese Burger Mafia’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Hot Docs 2023, Movies by - May 02, 2023
Hot Docs 2023: Our Review of ‘The Lebanese Burger Mafia’

When a movie’s title has the word mafia in it, there is almost a certain expectation for the film. That be something of my own fault or not. However, it certainly lays out what one is hoping to see throughout the film. Omar Mouallem’s story about the Burger Baron(s) in Alberta is certainly interesting in The Lebanese Burger Mafia. But the story is a little drier than enthusiasts would prefer.

The Lebanese Burger Mafia focuses on the story of the Burger Baron a franchise launched by Jack McDonnell in the 50s. He was hoping to take down the red clown and bring his own signature burgers into the fray. However, unfortunately for McDonnell they filed for bankruptcy in the early 60s, but the Barons refused to go down. A group of Lebanese immigrants opened Burger Barons all throughout the prairies. Seeing this, McDonnell was bothered by the fact that his father’s brand was now rebranded and had less than truthful origins about it. The documentary tackling the intricacies of the true story behind the Baron. It’s engaging to see how this group of immigrants mostly of Lebanese descent created their own version of the Baron brand. The documentary also shows what the brand meant to each family.

While the burger is certainly dressed in the delectable mushroom sauce that made the Barons a forced to be reckoned with the patty is certainly lacking juices and depth from its fifty fifty blend. Omar Mouallem certainly brings to life the story of the Baron’s and McDonnell’s story. But there is too much pressed on the grill. And it loses the juicy bits in the overflow of sauce onto the plate that the bun doesn’t scoop up.

  • Release Date: 5/3/2023
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My earliest movie memory, outside of my home theatre in my basement, was going to the local Video 99 and wanting to rent ET only to be told by the shop owner it was playing down the street in theatres. My love for cinema has been alive for as long as I can honestly remember. I would frequent the cinema minutes down from my house daily. It was a second home. Movies are an escape from the everyday world, a window into the soul, a distant friend. If I’m not watching a movie, I’m probably watching a tv show, if I’m doing neither I’m asleep. Feel free to interact me at @Dubsreviews
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