The Founder is in cinemas now, telling the story of how Mc Donald’s went from small family business to global juggernaut. Is the film a big mac or a big ham?
There are almost 37,000 Mc Donald’s restaurants worldwide, employing roughly 1.5 million in over one hundred countries, but little is commonly known about the mega franchise’s humble beginnings; that’s what makes The Founder such a fascinating film.
John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, Saving Mr. Banks) directed this biopic, so I was expecting it to be overly sentimental and schmaltzy. But Michael Keaton’s portrayal of lead character Ray Kroc gives this film a welcomed edge and darkness. Illinois salesman Kroc was the archetypal wheeler dealer, bulshy, cold-blooded and driven to win at all costs. The film tells how Kroc “discovered” the brilliantly efficient Mc Donald’s restaurant, in Southern California, which was the brainchild of brothers Mac and Dick McDonald – played by Nick Offerman and the lovable John Carroll Lynch.
There’s much more to this fast-food story than we could have ever imagined and Keaton’s portrayal of of the aptly named Kroc is nothing short of genius. Kroc is one of those characters who you root for and damn to hell all at once, thanks to lines like: “Contracts are like hearts; they’re made to be broken”. The world of 1950s America and the years that followed were wonderfully recreated with some intelligent nods towards things to come, such as the popular McDonald’s shake. The conniving and ruthlessness of Ray Kroc cleverly pitched against the ingenuity, warmth and naivety of the McDonald brothers makes for a winning recipe. We also thoroughly enjoyed the supporting cast including Linda Cardellini (Mad Men), Laura Dern (Jurassic Park) and BJ Novak, they were the apple pie to our super-sized number 3.
Checkout the trailer below:
4 DDs out of 5