The Founder Review

The Golden Arches have fed people for generations. McDonald’s is a staple of fast food. Efficiency, cheapness and amiable quality. We’ve all been there. That strangely appetising burger in the early hours of the morning does not feature in The Founder, but it lives on in the hearts of millions. Driven by frustration, an on-the-road salesman, Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) has a flickering of an idea. His annoyances are simple and relatable. Almost immediately, an audience can understand his point of view. They may not be door-to-door milkshake machine salesmen, but they can understand the exasperation to be had at receiving the wrong order, being delayed and feeling like they have more to offer.

Such ideas are presented capably well by Keaton. He is well held in his leading role. A late-career resurgence has been the gift that keeps on giving for this man, and his turn as Kroc is another defining example of that. The Founder is dependant almost entirely on his ability to captivate an audience. There is little help elsewhere. Kroc is, by all means, a conniving man. He may have made McDonald’s the powerhouse grease-peddling corporation it is today, but he did so at the cost of good-hearted people who were fine with the dedicated work they put into their industry. These two are amicably portrayed by Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch.

Neither brother is a bad person, and neither man offers a bad performance, but the humble origins and montage shots that detail their life are awful. John Lee Hancock directs an advertisement for those beautiful Golden Arches, rather than a biopic of their experience and growth. There is a glimmer in the eye of Kroc as if he were the hero of this story. No, he is merely the focus. Hancock is unable to differentiate the two. His tale of Kroc and company is surely factually relevant, but it is not accurately interesting. Actively trying to bring about the happiness McDonald’s holds, it is the focus behind the scenes that is not just the main draw, but also the irrelevant portion of the feature.

Employees are united in their misery. The pain of having to sweat away over a barely working grill as customers shout that their order is vaguely incorrect. The customer is always wrong, and it is a damned shame Kroc couldn’t incorporate that along with batch cooking. It’d have saved us a lot of hassle when the milkshakes went down and the queues started to pile on up. The Founder runs as an advertisement with smart writing. “Where do you eat it?” Keaton dares enquire. “In your car, at the park, anywhere.” comes the response. It is a food for the masses, by the masses, to be eaten while brushing shoulders in areas the masses can feast. Slow-motion shots of delightfully attractive men and women chowing down on burgers are all too frequent. It leaves a sour taste, unlike the delicious, delicious food found in your local McDonalds. Consume. Conform. Eat. Eat up. Those burgers in The Founder are too thick, they’d not be pressed down properly on the grills I used to use.

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