The Founder

"Excellent"

The Founder Review


This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's. And the most remarkable thing about this film is that it's not a feature-length advertisement for the fast-food outlet. Instead, it's a strikingly balanced, warts-and-all exploration of one man who pioneered a whole new way of making a fortune, even if it meant crushing some innocent people along the way. Which of course makes the film both entertaining and involving.

Michael Keaton delivers a storming performance as Ray, who we meet as a travelling salesman in the American Midwest in 1954. Unable to get anyone to understand his theory about simplified menus and faster service, he follows a lead out west to Southern California, where brothers Dick and Mac McDonald (Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch) have done just that. He buys into their concept and begins opening franchises back in the Midwest, and his network rapidly expands. But a business partner (BJ Novak) shows him that he'll need to push the brothers aside if he wants to make some proper money.

Director John Lee Hancock keeps the film's tone light and the pace brisk, never bogging down in the darker edges of the story. But he never shies away from them either, which adds a blackly comical tone to Keaton's full-on performance as a man who will do whatever it takes to make a profit. As a result, the audience is able to sympathise with Ray even though he's increasingly unlikeable, a charming monster who shamelessly borrows ideas from everyone he meets. This makes his relationships with his fragile first wife (Laura Dern) and his more aggressive second wife (Linda Cardellini) fascinating, even if neither woman is very well defined.

Screenwriter Robert Siegel (The Wrestler) cleverly reveals Ray's ruthless ambition slowly as the film progresses. This is remarkably enlightening not just about the McDonald's phenomenon but global capitalism in general, most notably the moral relativism that's needed to strike it rich. But none of this is laid on too heavily, as the film bounces entertainingly along on the colourful surface letting the themes gurgle far below. So in the end, the movie feels like a cautionary tale about the high cost of creating an empire. But we can't help but admire the way Ray found a gap in the market and turned it into a game-changing business model. And if he sacrificed honesty and quality along the way, no one seems to have minded too much. Except perhaps the actual McDonald family.

Watch the trailer for The Founder:



The Founder

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 115 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th January 2017

Box Office USA: $7,433,899.00

Budget: $7M

Distributed by: The Weinstein Company

Production compaines: Weinstein Company, The, FilmNation Entertainment, Faliro House Productions, The Combine, Speedie Distribution

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Fresh: 118 Rotten: 27

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Don Handfield, , Aaron Ryder

Starring: as Ray Kroc, as Dick McDonald, as Mac McDonald, as Ethel Kroc, as Joan Smith, as Rollie Smith, B. J. Novak as Harry Sonneborn, Wilbur Fitzgerald as Jerry Cullen, Kabby Borders as Cheerleader, Valeri Rogers as Cheerleader #2

Also starring:

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