Released January 20
The Founder is the story of Ray Kroc, the businessman who took McDonald’s from a small express –style hamburger chain to a worldwide phenomenon. In addition to being a true account, the screenplay written by Robert D. Siegel, who wrote Mickey Rourke’s classic The Wrestler in 2008, is very well crafted. The narrative does not attempt to cover every detail in Kroc’s life and the style follows a documentary pattern. This movie gets to the heart of the people involved by presenting a classic tale with great character arcs in the model of a Greek or Shakespearean tragedy.
Performances by Michael Keaton, Laura Dern, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Linda Cardellini and BJ Novak are brilliant. Michael Keaton seems to have given over his own soul to that of “Ray Krock.” He is truly an exceptional and believable actor. The ensemble work of this team is exquisite.
Kroc became interested in a small fast food restaurant chain in San Bernardino in the early1950’s while he was a traveling salesman hawking a new multiple electric milkshake maker. He found that very few restaurants would order his shake mixer, as they had no need for the kind of volume that would make the machine necessary. However Richard and Mac McDonald bought six of them for their fast food burger restaurant. The rest is history, so to speak.
The Founder follows Kroc as he works at first with the McDonald brothers and slowly starts the wheels of the franchise business churning to turn the McDonald brothers’ small, extraordinarily efficient model of a fast food restaurant into the monolithic icon that McDonald’s is today. In this film you will see that Kroc was not remarkably creative nor was he exceptionally prescient or a great leader. He owed his accomplishments mostly to persistence. His moral compass veered off course as he became more successful. As circumstances changed, Kroc’s personality became corrupted from his original tenacious exuberance. Keaton gets this completely.
The Founder will give you insight into the history of an American institution that has spread worldwide and it will give you a lesson in the psychology of hubris.