'The Founder' - Movie Review
A biopic that hopes to give the audience a deep insight into the life-and-times of the McDonald's founder has gotten most of its facts right but unfortunately it prefers to be conciliatory rather than aggressive in its approach to charting this unauthorized cinematic biography
Director: John Lee Hancock
Cast: Michael Keaton, John Carroll Lynch, Nick Offerman, Laura Dern, Patrick Wilson, B.J. Novak, Linda Cardellini, John Lynch, Griff Furst, Justin Brooke, Mathias Alvarez
A biopic that hopes to give the audience a deep insight into the life-and-times of the McDonald’s founder has gotten most of it’s facts right but unfortunately it prefers to be conciliatory rather than aggressive in it’s approach to charting this unauthorized cinematic biography.
Scriptwriter Robert Siegel writes up a dramatized account of the true story of how Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), a struggling salesman from Illinois, met Mac (John Carroll Lynch) and Dick McDonald (Nick Offerman), who were running a burger operation in 1950s Southern California. Impressed by the brothers' and seeing franchise potential in their speedy system of making the food, Kroc wrests control of the company from the brothers and creates a multi-billion dollar empire of his own. Finders keepers they say and that’s what Ray Kroc did to the burger outlet with a hot-selling idea.
There are ethical issues at play here and we can feel the steely dark side of the opportunist in Kroc’s demeanor but the wholesome treatment by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, Saving Mr Banks) does not allow for any edginess in the telling of it.
Siegel's screenplay starts with Kroc, the Chicago-reared son of Czech immigrants, who at over 50, a salesman of sorts is down to the rubber trying to sell a five spindle multi-mixer to restaurant owners and managers in the Midwest- till he comes across the burger joint and makes history en route to his many millions.
Kroc's secretary June (Kate Kneeland) alerts him to the requirement of eight mixers for the McDonald stand in Southern California and Kroc, seeing an opportunity in that decides to do a personal delivery. The brothers had reduced their menu to best-selling items and worked out homemade inventions to ready them as efficiently as possible. Kroc fired up by their entrepreneurial genius, decides to go for broke on the expansion of it. “Business is War” he states when the older brother refuses permission to add a powder based shake to the menu.
Keaton plays Kroc singularly driven by the urge to do more. He may be a pathetic human being but make no mistake he is a vulture when it comes to business. It’s a vigorous performance aided by poignant turns from the rest of the cast included Laura Dern who plays his neglected wife. But for the performances, this film would have been just a little too wishy-washy in its attempts to overlook the predator in the man!
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