The Founder

The Founder

(2016)

He took someone else's idea and America ate it up.

Michael Keaton (Birdman) leads this true story drama as Ray Kroc, a salesman from Illinois who met Mac and Dick McDonald and their burger operation in 1950s Southern California. Impressed by their fast food operation, Kroc saw franchise potential and maneuvered himself into a position to be able to pull the company from the brothers and create a billion-dollar empire. From the director of Saving Mr. Banks and the writer of The Wrestler.

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Flicks Review

Being loud, angry, determined, despicable, and full of lies is one way to make it to the top of big business in America. That behaviour got USA their 45th president and it’s also what got McDonald’s onto the map of every state and almost every country in the world. At the centre of the phenomenon is Ray Kroc, the man who swiped the signature idea for fast-food burgers from a humble pair of brothers who weren’t interested in world domination.... More

Michael Keaton slides into the role of Kroc like a greasy weasel, wriggling through the world of business with a slimy smile and a sober slur. His character is gross, using deception and bullying tactics to get what he wants. But while Keaton portrays a gross person superbly, the character just isn’t that compelling: you’re certainly not rooting for the guy, his motives don’t go much deeper than “I want success – everyone else can suck it,” and his relationships peel off as effortlessly as burger wrappers.

What is engrossing is the push-n-pull between Kroc and the McDonald brothers – Mac (John Carroll Lynch) and Dick (Nick Offerman). The McDonalds take pride in their burgers, as seen in a charming flashback to how the first McDonald’s was created. Kroc just sees a business begging to boom, and when his ambitions start to tug at Mac and Dick’s code, it creates a solid tension that results in some effective back-n-forth.

Unfortunately, the brothers are too often side-lined, usually reappearing when the film wants to remind you that Kroc’s a giant jerk-hole. (Though that’s nothing compared to Laura Dern’s shadow-thin role as Unappreciated Housewife.) A stronger script could have indulged in these conflicts and complexities, but while The Founder is a well-produced look at corporate history, it’s not The McSocial Network.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

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Fascinating movie about the theft of an idea and an identity, amongst other things. Well worth watching, if only to gain a correct insight into the origin of the famous food chain. It will also give you an understanding of why Macca's is the low paying sweatshop that it is today.


BY cinemusefilm superstar

Biographical dramas tell stories about significant people in history but they are always much more than that. The person chosen for the bio-pic reflects something about the values of the era and the society from which they came. In this sense, The Founder (2016) goes well beyond the story of a global hamburger empire to the values that made McDonald’s possible and it does not paint a pretty picture. The mantra “persistence is everything” is heard at the beginning and the end of this film... More but when decoded it means persistent treachery, greed, and a code of ethics toxic enough to remove some gloss from the world’s most recognised golden arches.

The real founders are brothers Maurice (John Lynch) and Richard McDonald (Nick Offerman) who pioneered high-speed standardised burgers that led to the modern fast-food industry. Into their lives came Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), a struggling milkshake-mixer salesman who is amazed at the queues of people lining up for burgers and fries. The brothers trust Ray, tell him their secrets, and in 1954 Ray becomes the franchise manager responsible for setting up new stores. Driven by insatiable greed, Ray wants to go national but the brothers fear loss of quality control. When Ray realises that owning the property on which stores operate gives him complete control of the business, his takeover plans are rolled into place.

The storyline follows the facts of history but it is the film’s characterisations that are its real achievement. Perhaps best known for his extraordinary performance in Birdman (2014) Michael Keaton is in a class of his own when it comes to portraying deeply flawed people living on the edge of sanity or evil. From the opening scenes his eyes express callous disregard for others, and at one point he boasts that if a competitor was drowning he would not hesitate to put a running hose deep down the victim’s throat. His flawed humanity is contrasted by the authenticity and honesty represented by the brothers. Excellent casting, directing and period sets make this a thoroughly engaging story.

This film also arrives with remarkable timing given the current global spotlight on the home of capitalism. Millions of McDonald’s fans are regularly processed by one of the most sophisticated marketing machines on the planet. Seeing The Founder is a bit like finding out that Santa Claus is Satan in disguise. Good cinema not only entertains: it shows the world as it is, not as we believe it should be. The Founder tells a story that should be told, and it does it brilliantly.Hide


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The Press Reviews

  • It's the dash of pickle in Robert Siegel's script - a streak of sour, cheek-puckering cynicism amid its warmer, blander conventions - that gives "The Founder" its mojo. Full Review

  • Nicely shot, smartly acted and efficient in its telling. Full Review

  • [The Founder is] at the high end of what is fast becoming a distinguished genre in American movie-making: the forensic corporate drama. Full Review

  • The result is a wishy-washy take on both Kroc and McDonald's itself, which tries to play off its timidity as fairness, balance or some such. Full Review

  • It's never laugh out loud funny, but we're invited to enjoy Kroc as a rascal, not a villain... almost til the end. Full Review

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