The Founder (2017)
Reader Rating (Rate Here): [Total: 4 Average: 3/5]
Directed By: John Lee Hancock
Cast: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Laura Dern, Linda Cardellini
“I am sorry but this is business”- this one line surmises The Founder. It is the story of the legendary Ray Kroc and his journey from a milk shake mixer salesman to the king of the fast food empire called McDonalds. With the single minded ambition to make his last hurrah a big success, he decimates anyone who comes in his way. The Founder is not a happy meal for everyone.
It is 1954, Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) is 52 years old and is selling milk shake mixers. Ray has all the ingredients to just step back, relax and chill- he owns a house in Arlington Heights, Illinois and has a supporting wife in Ethel (Laura Dern) but, he wants more. Then he comes across the two brothers Mac McDonald (John Carroll Lynch) and Dick McDonald (Nick Offerman) who give him the tour of their unusually successful drive-in restaurant McDonald’s. And he finds this as an opportunity for his last shot at success and convinces the brothers to franchise the restaurant. Though initially reluctant, they are eventually persuaded by Ray and thus begins his single minded ambition of world domination. And he gives it everything he has, takes risks, makes mistakes, learns from them and achieves success.
The Founder can be seen as a person with a single minded determination to be successful. He works really hard and single-handedly creates the McDonald’s fast food chain. The brothers lend their name and their process- “the Speedy system”. They concentrate only on their San Bernardino outlet. On the other side Ray toils hard feeding bodies, feeding souls. Ray’s secret of success is that he sees opportunity in a Jew selling Bible for a living. And to people around him you are either in his team or not. A bitter truth Ethel found out when she tried to slow him down and Ray asked for divorce. He married Joan (Linda Cardellini) who believed in his ambition and thus became part of his journey. Ray’s character reminded me of Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood- willing to sacrifice everything for his singe minded ambition.
Ray does divide opinion for his treatment of the brothers. You do feel bad for the brothers but they are victim of their own complacency. They let a wolf into their life and the wolf screwed them over. Their only fault being having a lack of business acumen that Ray had.
The star of the movie is Michael Keaton, he owns the character from start to finish. He is able to bring out the madness very well. Its sad that the movie betrays Michael’s performance by not matching up to his standards. John and Nick create sympathy in the closing stages. Its a one time watch. Watch it and share your rating above.
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