The Founder Reviewed By Jon E Clist

The Premise
The story of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc.

The Review
You got to love it when a film premise can be kept simply to one short sentence and it pretty much sums it up; The story of McDonalds founder Ray Kroc. Having said that and now that I have watched the film, I would have to say that you could pad that sentence out with a few more descriptive words in order to better convey the feel and emotion of the story.

The story of the self-proclaimed founder of McDonalds and how he seduced the dream of a coast to coast restaurant chain from two clever guys who wouldn’t budge from their ideals.

With a masterful performance, Michael Keaton once again created a character that you love and despise in equal measure. He is the lovable rogue that you kind of want to see succeed, however at the same time he steps on and over many people in order to get there. When the real Ray Kroc died in the mid-eighties his worth was estimated at around half a billion, so from a who dies with the most toys kind of measurement, you would have to say that he was successful. (However, the reality is more like… He who dies with the most toys, still dies). Anyway, here is a man who has had many somewhat great ideas in his time and taken plenty of chances on schemes but never amounted to much and when he finds something outstanding in the form of the original McDonalds, he can see this could finally be the idea he has been looking for. He becomes so driven that he is willing to pretty much do anything in order to see it prosper and let’s be honest, he certainly did that. After his wonderful outing in Birdman, I cannot really think of anyone else who could have really mastered this role like Keaton. To play his character Michael Keaton watched Glengarry Glen Ross, Michael Douglas in Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street and Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire.

Interesting to note that Tom Hanks turned down the role of Ray Kroc and Michael Keaton took the part. The opposite happened in Philadelphia when Keaton turned down the role of Andrew Beckett and Hanks took the part, eventually winning the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance. I really do think that Hanks is really the too nice guy to pull off the slightly devious nature of Kroc and from a successful story-telling point of view, this is the right outcome.

The film makers have done a great job of capturing the time-period and it is interesting to note that really there are none of the original order window style McDonalds left that they could have used in the filming of this movie and so they had to build new ones in the idle of carparks in order to capture that feel.

The Verdict
It is a compelling tale of one of the biggest brands of all time and the man who was driven to build it. Great performances make this a must-see.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 24th November 2016
Rating: M – Contains offensive language
Duration: 115 minutes 
Genre:  Drama
Starring: Nick Offerman, Michael Keaton, Patrick Wilson, Linda Cardellini, Laura Dern and John Carroll Lynch
Director: John Lee Hancock (The Blindside, Saving Mr Banks}

The Extras
Feeling generous after a long day of filming, Michael Keaton rented 2 ice cream trucks for the film crew after he saw them exhausted.

Robert D. Siegel has described the script as "being akin to The Social Network (2010) and There Will Be Blood (2007)."

Michael Keaton took up piano lessons in preparation for the movie after discovering the real Ray Kroc liked to play piano.

The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2014 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year.