Starring: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Linda Cardellini, Patrick Wilson, B.J Novak, Laura Dern.
Biopics really do hinge on their subject matter, who’s story they are telling to grab the attention of an intended audience with? The story of Ray Kroc and his business dealings with the McDonald brothers of San Bernardino, California is one of those films. Just how did one of the biggest fast food outlets in the world come to be? It’s an immediately tasty proposition.
Ray Kroc is a failing catering equipment salesman, hawking milkshake mixers up and down the country. One day his company receives a large order from a family run restaurant in San Bernardino, California, intrigued Ray goes to see this restaurant for himself. So begins the birth of the McDoanald’s fast food empire.
The Founder boasts an impressive ensemble cast. Michael Keaton is magnificent as Kroc, at first a loveable huckster with dreams, an infectious passion and a little chutzpah transforming into a money monster business tycoon with a skewed moral compass, it’s not unfair to say this movie pretty much revolves around Keaton’s dizzying, frenetic performance. A fair amount of sympathy is generated for the McDonald brothers played respectively by Nick Offerman & John Caroll Lynch, two men who turned a genius idea into a reality and gave birth to the fast food industry template as we know it, men with the heart but not the stomach for the cutthroat world of big business Ray has in mind with franchising the brothers idea, they soon come to realise they have made a deal with a man eater. Support is offered by the likes of Laura Dern as Kroc’s long suffering but supportive wife, a woman spurned by her husbands lofty ambitions, her sense of isolation effectively conveyed by Dern, Linda Cardellini as the wife of one of Kroc’s business partners, a woman with perhaps a sense of vision to match that of Kroc, Cardellini sharing great chemistry with Keaton.
The Founder is a fascinating look at a story few of us probably know, how a tiny Californian restaurant went global due to the dubious morals of a shark, or should that be Kroc? It’s engaging, perhaps a tad overlong but always interesting to learn more about how the Golden Arches came to stride the globe.