John Lee Hancock directs the story of Ray Kroc, a salesman who transformed an innovative fast food eatery into one of the largest restaurant businesses in the world. This is the story of McDonald’s and the man who took it into the stratosphere with ambition, ruthlessness and most important of all persistence.
When we first Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), he is a struggling salesman and at first all you want is for him to succeed. The Founder is essentially just another story of the american dream where morality is sacrificed for money. Michael Keaton gives a solid performance as a driven and cunning individual who you will love to hate.
McDonald’s is depicted as a small venture created by Dick McDonald (Nick Offerman) and his brother Mac (John Carroll Lynch). Both of these two actors gives brilliant performances ranging from initial suspicion to jubilation and disbelief. Some of the best moments in the film came from these two actors and their interactions with Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc.
The Founder also explores the difficulties of life on the road and the toll it can take on life at home. The relationship between Kroc and his wife Ethel (Laura Dern) reveals a lot about his character and the man he will become. Support and rejection are common themes over the course of this film and this is clearer here than anywhere else.
One of the other characters we are introduced to is that of Joan Smith ( Linda Cardellini), a married woman who Ray is instantly smitten with. The chemistry between them is clear as day and I particularly liked the scene where they played Piano together. Joan is a smart and brilliant woman in this film and more than a match for Ray Kroc.
As you might have guessed by now The Founder is based on a true story and like a lot of the films in this genre it is followed by a pretty interesting post script. All of this serves to give us a greater context to the film and what happened after the credits rolled without casting to much of a critical eye on it what we had just seen.
Following on from Spotlight and Birdman, The Founder is another fantastic performance from Michael Keaton. The film itself is utterly compelling for most of its 1 hour and 55 min runtime but while it has some great performances it doesn’t put any real weight behind its convictions and i’m sure that it won’t stick long in the memory.