The Founder is The Social Network with burgers.
The film tells the story of the founding of the one of the biggest fast-food empires in the world today – McDonald’s. Michael Keaton stars as Ray Kroc, the entrepreneur looking to become a part of the fast-growing business.
It’s another brilliant performance from Keaton, who continues to build on his re-found fame following 2014’s Birdman. Keaton perfectly exudes the sly, pushy, egomaniac qualities of Kroc, whilst John Carooll Lynch and Nick Offerman back him up with tremendous performances as the McDonalds brothers themselves.
There’s many ways the characters could be looked at. The McDonalds brothers can easily be looked at as stubborn for not recognising how far this small San Bernardino restaurant can go, making Ray Kroc seem like the true brains behind McDonalds because of his vision and entrepreneurial instincts to go far. On the other hand, you could look at this as a sly businessman seeing an opportunity to capitalise on a pair hard-working brothers who are content with what they have.
The film never really chooses which way to go and leaves the audience questioning who was truly the villain, which is great.
The only set back is Laura Dern’s character Ethel Kroc, Ray’s wife. Dern’s performance isn’t terrible but there’s just not much to judge her on because her character, and the relationship between Ethel and Ray isn’t explored as much as it should have. It doesn’t feel genuine.
But, otherwise, John Lee Hancock and Robert Siegel have done a great job at bringing a fascinating true story to the big screen and it is nice to see people come to learn the true story of the founding of McDonald’s.