Telling the true story of McDonalds, ‘The Founder’ is a fascinating look at the history behind the fast food giant. The biggest problem with ‘The Founder’, except for being obvious Oscar bait material when it released earlier this year, is that its very, very average. There’s nothing here that hasn’t been done better although if you were ever interested in the background to McDonalds then it is worth watching for that alone.
The film follows Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) as he uncovers an incredibly quick fast food service out in California, run by the often overlooked brilliance of the McDonald brothers. Through some convincing, Dick (Nick Offerman) and Mac (John Carroll Lynch) agree to let Ray onto the team. Through ruthless and often aggressive business tactics, Ray snatches the McDonalds franchise from under the brothers, claiming it for his own and in turn, turning McDonalds into a global billion dollar franchise.
Ray Kroc is the real stand out here and Michael Keaton’s performance is excellent in an otherwise average flick. His pursuit to become better and turn this fast food joint into something revolutionary, is inspiring to start with but quickly descends to disgust with some of the underhanded techniques he uses – taking what he can from others to claim as his own. Whether it be someone else’s wife or the restaurant brand itself, he successfully burns the bridges of all the ties with the people that got him there in the first place which eventually makes you resent him.
The story itself is interesting to watch and Michael Keaton is great as the progressively horrible Ray Kroc but beyond that, there really isn’t anything that stands out here. The supporting cast are okay, the lighting and camera work are again, absolutely fine and the costume design is great but there’s just no ‘wow’ moment here. Unfortunately, just like the burgers McDonalds serve, the entire thing ends up bland and lacking originality.