“… does a great job of reminding us that life isn’t all about happy endings.”
Yesterday I watched The Founder and I really liked it. For those who don’t know, The Founder is about Ray Kroc the “founder” of McDonald’s, and the story of how the company got off the ground. The film stars Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc, and a whole slew of other recognizable faces as well.
The main thing I liked about The Founder was that the movie didn’t pull any punches. When I say that The Founder is a movie about Ray Kroc, you would assume that it would be two hours of blowing smoke up this guy’s ass. Now don’t get me wrong, I respect the hell out of Ray Kroc, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t an asshole. The Founder doesn’t hide this fact. Despite Ray Kroc being the main character, the film never misses an opportunity to show you just how shitty this guy is. It’s not even that you are rooting for him by the end, you just end up being transfixed with what is going to happen. McDonald’s is such a recognizable brand that people are interested in where it got it beginning; little did they know that it is a lot less pleasant than they had anticipated. It is this fact that makes me believe there is a lot of truth in this story. I mean sure, there could be lies in the other direction (painting Kroc as a bigger asshole than he is), but the fact that the movie didn’t shy away from his slimy behaviour is a real win in my book.
The Founder also managed to find a great mix between entertainment and education as well. Once again this rests solely on how realistic this movie is (I’m not sure, if I’m being honest) but the way that it was presented gave a nice mix of actual history and business lessons, along with wonderful performances and a story that kept you focused. I will admit that the beginning of the movie was a little slow at times, but once the whole “McDonald’s” thing gets rolling the movie really picks up. I will say that I was a little disappointed that some things seems kind of rushed, but it’s understandable considering the scope of the film. The best part of The Founder in my opinion was Michael Keaton’s performance. Keaton is no stranger to getting lost in his roles, and The Founder was no different. Keaton nailed the general sleezeball aesthetic that a businessman like Ray Kroc would have, and seeing the brief interview footage of Kroc at the end of the film I realized how well he got his cadence and speech patterns down as well. There are some other great performances in the film too, but the bulk of the praise in this category would have to go to Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch who play the McDonald brothers who get fucked over by Kroc. The pair play their roles very differently, but each one makes their character come to life.
Overall The Founder was a very enjoyable film. The performances were great with Keaton taking the lead as the abhorrent figure Ray Kroc, and it does a great job of reminding us that life isn’t all about happy endings.
I give The Founder an A