The Founder

Directed by John Lee Hancock who is best known for 2009’s The Blind Side, The Founder is an entertaining film that tells the fascinating true story of the great American icon known as McDonald’s. Oscar-nominated actor Michael Keaton gives a strong performance as Ray Kroc, a desperate businessman from Illinois who helped transform McDonald’s into a billion-dollar global corporation. We first meet Kroc in 1954 working as a traveling salesman for a milkshake maker manufacturer and hoping to break through in the business world while supporting his wife played by Laura Dern. Eventually, he ends up in San Bernardino, California where he discovers a small pioneering fast food restaurant owned and operated by the McDonald brothers, the older Mac played by John Carroll Lynch and the inventive Dick played by Nick Offerman. Ray Kroc will do anything to get a piece of the McDonald’s pie and will ultimately use questionable tactics to take advantage of the two hard-working brothers already satisfied with running a single successful restaurant. Providing a remarkably fast and efficient method never used before to serve hamburgers, the McDonald’s innovative fast food model inspires Kroc to convince the brothers to franchise the restaurant across the nation. Kroc becomes increasingly hostile to the largely naive founding brothers who are hesitant to give more control to their new partner. To get around the original contract and make more money, he devises a plan to purchase the real estate of each franchise and form a company exerting more control over McDonald’s. The movie effectively illustrates the corrupting influence of money by depicting Ray Kroc towards the end as a conniving character unsympathetic to the true founders of McDonald’s and even to his own wife who stood by his side. Through the alluring performance of Michael Keaton, the viewer is given a glimpse into the largely unseen side of such an iconic brand and a man who has become known as the founder of McDonald’s. Overall, I found it to be a highly compelling film about a complicated figure in the seemingly mundane fast food world and leaves the audience with a disillusioned view of the Golden Arches.

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