The Founder (2017)
“The Founder” directed by John Lee Hancock ("The Blind Side," "Saving Mr. Banks"), features the true story of how Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), a struggling milkshake machine salesman from Illinois on a hunch and whim drove across country 1,200 miles to complete a sales order and in turn met brothers Mac and Dick McDonald, who were running a burger operation in 1950s Southern California. Kroc was so immediately impressed by the brothers' speedy concept system of making their hamburgers and basic food menu that he saw the potential to franchise their restaurant and system nationwide.
The film subsequently details in a very interesting and very meticulous way just how Kroc was able to slowly and calculatingly maneuver himself into a position of power to eventually pull the home grown local company away from the two brothers and create his worldwide billion-dollar empire that we all know.
My Review: Michael Keaton is both fascinating and empowering as Kroc. A man who at times had a warm and endearing personality as well other times was the embodiment of a hyper driven Type-A personality bad guy who at all cost got whatever he wanted, from whom ever he wanted it from, whenever he wanted. His American Dream mantra may have been stated by Keaton in the beginning of the film as “persistence”, but it should also include being despicable and greedy. Willing to do without any hesitation to dispose and or crush anyone who got in his way from his ambitions.
Running 2 hours, “The Founder” moves with a light whimsical simplicity to its execution, it nevertheless works in this carefully managed movement flawlessly so. It takes great care into covering the most meticulous morsel of background information of explaining exactly how those McDonald’s Golden Arches came to be. So much so it explains Kroc’s vision that today it is as much a part of the American landscape to our culture as does the vast highway systems that allows us to travel great distance never worrying about ever getting something to eat along the way……………….Everyone knows while on the road – any road, there is a McDonalds always somewhere nearby.
While its’ way too early to contemplate, I still truly hope people will remember Keaton’s work here as Kroc as he truly deserves some Best Actor consideration for 2018. But overall the film’s basic story is just about how Ray Kroc goes from being essentially an obscure working out of his car trunk salesman to the sole owner of a global corporate retail fast food empire. The finish result I believe, should you choose to see, it is a very intelligent piece of film viewing as it provides genuine “food for thought” (pardon the pun) of just how all of the “Mc” food and “Mc” language came to be a part of our national lexicon.