The Founder: More Like ‘The Hamburger Network’
Michael Keaton is engaging and fantastic from beginning to end in this interesting drama that is unexpectedly subtle and intriguing.
Fast food chain restaurant McDonald’s feeds an astonishing one percent of the population every single day but how many of you know much about its history?
Well biographical drama The Founder will help clear things up as we follow salesman Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) as he turns two brothers’ fast food diner into one of the biggest businesses in the world.
Keaton’s Kroc may savagely say “Business is war. Its dog eat dog” but the film is surprisingly more gentile, subtle and entertaining than you would perhaps expect.
With a cruel central character and a story that is very business orientated, think the Wolf of Wall Street but with hamburgers, the film could have easily been alienating to audiences but director John Lee Hancock ensures that there is enough humour and charisma to make it engaging instead.
Opening and ending with shots that sees Keaton breaking the fourth wall we are absorbed from start to end by the fascinating story that gives us an insight into how one of the biggest businesses in the world was born.
At times it did need meatier drama in order to pick up the pace but the overall softer tone makes it much more enjoyable.
Keaton’s Kroc is obsessed with turning McDonald’s into the “new American church” and we become sucked in by the American dream as much as the character is.
The ‘golden arches’ that symbolise McDonald’s are continually emphasised and the film is bathed in a golden glow throughout, a neat cinematography trick that works very well.
At the heart of The Founder is a strong performance from the fantastic Keaton which is the glue that ties the whole film together.
Keaton is genuinely cold, calculated and passionate, a man so taken with an idea he refuses to let it go no matter what stands in his way.
His performance changes and morphs naturally and in unexpected ways taking the audience on a journey through Kroc’s mind as well as his life.
There is also strong support from the likes of Laura Dern, Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch who are all excellent.
But this is Keaton’s show and he easily sells this captivating drama to us, as easily as McDonald’s sells burgers.