Review of 'The Founder'

the_founder.jpg Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) is dissatisfied salesman selling milkshake mixers who comes across the McDonald brothers, Dick (Nick Offerman) and Mac (John Carroll Lynch), who are running a very popular hamburger restaurant in San Bernardino, California. The brothers have improved on the drive-in experience by providing a fast service delivering quality food in disposable packaging. Previously drive-ins provided very slow and bad service, often attracting the “wrong crowd”. Kroc recognises the potential of McDonald's as he has experienced first-hand the poor quality of these other “fast food” outlets in his travels around the country as a salesman. The brother's are reticent about opening additional stores as their earlier attempts failed when they lost control over the brand. Kroc is eager to get involved so steps in as Franchise Manager, opening a growing number of restaurants while maintaining tight quality control. His compromises and ambition as McDonald's grows concerns the brothers but by the time they demand return of the brand it is too late. When Kroc realises the real money is in renting real estate to stores rather than in running them it is the turning point and the millions start rolling in.

Kroc comes across as not the nicest person as his ambitions lead him to divorce (after pursuing a younger woman), taking McDonald's from the brothers for a trivial amount (and, supposedly, cheating them from any percent ownership of the company) then taking credit for their ideas. His motivations, other than obviously making money, are never clear. The story is interesting but it is really hard to understand or relate to this enigmatic character making it difficult to get drawn into any sort of empathy for him. Keaton's flat, one dimensional, and emotionless performance keeps us at a distance from the character. While we might not learn anything of the man the film does tell the amazing story of McDonald's and it's overwhelming success.

“Based on a true story” of the founding of McDonald's, the film itself portrays a fairly clean and sanitised version of the 1950s. Innovative camera angles keep the story moving as McDonald's spreads across the United States and the world.

An interesting insight into the making of the McDonald's empire but, perhaps, not the man who made it all possible.


Review Date: 2017-09-15

Directed by: John Lee Hancock

Studio: FilmNation Entertainment

Year: 2016

Length: 115 minutes

Genre: Melodrama

Other reviewed films by John Lee Hancock: