The Founder is a biopic drama directed by John Lee Hancock. It’s the origin story of Ray Kroc, “the founder” of McDonald’s. Ray Kroc is a gambling salesman who always is looking for a new scheme to make it big. Sick of being ridiculed for his failed attempts, he continues his hustle and convinces the McDonald brothers to let him in on their business. Ray desperate for validation, puts all his efforts in turning their success in the food industry into a juggernaut that no one could have foreseen.
This biopic is a standard and straight forward film. I would have liked a bit more of backstory on the characters as the film just need a bit more to get me fully invested. The sets and the music are great to help set up the era of the 1950s. The story itself is an interesting look at the history of McDonald’s that not many may know. What really sells it, is Michael Keaton’s portrayal of Ray Kroc. As if Michael Keaton wasn’t already killing it lately, he comes out with this performance. Keaton tricks the audience into rooting for poor old Ray Kroc the persistent salesman that no longer wants to fail. By the end you realize his true nature. He has either been hiding his true feelings or success has twisted him into being a cutthroat business man. How Ray Kroc came to be and how it truly changes his personal life isn’t as fleshed out. I understand the film is about Ray Kroc “the founder” not Ray Kroc the man. Yet those inclusions of scenes about Ray Kroc the man either needed to be shorter or longer, as some parts of the film dragged.
The Founder is an amazing story about a man who, with persistence and ruthlessness, used the McDonald brother’s innovative fast food system and created a business that became one of the largest in the world. There are few moments that drag, more specifically involving his personal life. Don’t let that stop you from watching this film. If not to watch how McDonald’s came to be, watch The Founder for Michael Keaton. Keaton is magnificent as he adds another high quality performance to his impressive resume.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 1hr 55 min
Director: John Lee Hancock
Screenplay: Robert D. Siegel
Cast: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Linda Cardellini, B.J. Novak and Laura Dern
Producers: Don Handfield, Karen Lunder, Jeremy Renner and Aaron Ryder
Music: Carter Burwell
Cinematography: John Schwartzman