The Founder

 

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McDonald’s, the most recognised catering company in the world, owes its fame to one man, it says here.

 

 Founder, The
Fast and furious: Michael Keaton

 

The McDonald brothers, Maurice and Richard, were doing OK with their hamburger joint in 1950s San Bernardino, California, until one day along came travelling salesman Ray Kroc who thought they could do better by franchising their business. Kroc had been a paper cup salesman, a musician and a radio DJ before finding his niche in business. He came across the McDonald brothers while trying to push his milkshake mixer. Having visited mostly terrible burger bars, Kroc was impressed by the quality and efficiency of the McDonalds’ operation. He decided he had to have a part of it for himself.

  

Although he subsequently helped turn McDonald’s into what became a worldwide success, he was not above thinking about number one and he makes more out of the franchise than the two innocent brothers who might easily have made a comfortable living out of their family concern, albeit not on a global scale, and without compromising their own high standards. In the film Michael Keaton imbues the part of Kroc with an avid intensity, a man driven by his own unswerving ambition to succeed. It’s a love-hate relationship between both him and the brothers and between Kroc and us in the audience too.

 

If it is all true, then John Lee Hancock has made a fascinating character study of a megalomaniacal figure who just had to make it big, come what may, and if necessary at the expense of his business partners and his family, too. Laura Dern as Kroc’s wife gets the fuzzy end of the sesame bun by having a conman for a partner. You may love Ray, you may hate him, but the point is was he really a Kroc of gold when it came to the McDonald’s franchise? As for The Founder… the word has more than one meaning. It can be someone who invents something good or bad, a creator, or it can mean total collapse. Maybe Kroc was a bit of both.

 

MICHAEL DARVELL

 

Cast: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Linda Cardellini, B.J. Novak, Laura Dern, Patrick Wilson.

 

Dir John Lee Hancock, Pro Don Handfield, Parry Creedon, Jeremy Renner, Aaron Ryder and Michael Sledd, Screenplay Robert D. Siegel, Ph John Schwartzman, Pro Des Michael Corenblith, Ed Robert Frazen, Music Carter Burwell, Costumes Daniel Orlandi.

 

The Weinstein Company/FilmNation Entertainment/The Combine/Faliro House Productions-StudioCanal.

115 mins. USA. 2016. Rel: 17 February 2017. Cert. 12A.