The Founder – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

The Founder- 3.5/5 – Biopics; they are fueled by two things: great characters and linear progression.  By taking these two items, a film can become something that is entertaining, solid but not without flaws.  Even for that last bit; biopics always bring to light that ‘underlying’ deal; the ones that were made to make an iconic item, place or thing become so revered.  The Founder is your typical ‘by-the-books’ biopic.  Even in its obviousness; it is a solid picture that shows you the light on what really went behind the rise of McDonalds.

Premise: The story of Ray Croc and how he took an idea and built the McDonalds fast food brand.

Built on true events; this is a tale that focuses on its characters.  Some of the notable actors/actresses are:

Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc

Nick Offerman as Dick McDonald

John Carroll Lynch as Mac McDonald

Laura Dern as Ethel Kroc

L. J. Novak as Harry J. Sonneborn

There are a few others (you can refer to the IMDb page); but these are the main ones.  At the top of the chain is Keaton as Ray Kroc.  In this role, he gives a gratifying performance as a salesman that strives to do everything to get to the top.  When crossing paths with the McDonald brothers; his vision grows.  This adds fuel to the characterized dynamic; bring forth a layer that is proof of persistence, fortitude and unorthodox choices.  Keaton’s charisma brings an embellishment that gives a resemblance of any villain archetype; but he further develops the character through sophistication.  This adds meaning to the ideas of the ideal ‘sympathetic’ character.  The fragile line of achievement, goals and backhanded deals is one that Keaton blurs with pristine wit and vocal bravado.  His interactions are blunt but soft; creating irony in how the emotional turmoil can be somewhat unexpected.  Even for some obviousness in his choices (albeit this being based on true event), it is a performance that strikes strength in why he is the focal point of the film.  With the rest of the named cast above, they do a marvelous job in providing background, depth and additional ‘eventful’ moments for Kroc.  In the ensuing development; they provide the opposition to the ideal of ‘traditional vs. progress’; having conflicts that boil down to emotional confrontations or intellectual commentary.  It brings about the flawed sense of humanistic aura; one that shows where openness may not always be the right way to succeed.  Even so, the rest of the cast are above average in their roles.  They bring forth developed archetypes for the common ‘biopic’ story.

The direction (as mentioned in the prologue) is ‘by-the-books’ when it comes to the development of a biopic.  What you have is your common outlook of a (main character) who wants to ‘succeed’, finds that specific tool, item or idea (plot point), and pushes forward (linear progression) to make the dream a reality (predictable foreshadowing).  Through this basic premise; you get a man who dabbles in precision, intellect and some ‘morally’ bending decisions to create an empire at the expense of others.  This is something that has been seen many times before (The Wolf of Wall Street, Godfather, The Social Network).  It is the common thread of taking true events and giving it an approach that we all expect.  Once the film gets going; the predicable bits become less intrusive and it is the characters and their development that grips you on the journey.  From the first interactions between Ray Croc and the McDonald brothers, the initial investment to build a franchise, and the finality of the brothers losing everything to Ray Croc; you see the underlying development of the character’s endearment grow above the typical biopic tale.  There is heart and anguish in the likes of the common approach.  Within this; you see the thematic progression of society overlapping through these three individuals.  Watching the ‘traditional vs. progress’ theme play out against the 1950s America, it brings about the display of something that dwindles in the depths of human experience.  That fear of being ‘left behind’ is one that sheds the light on how two sides come out differently.  You have the McDonald brothers who preach instilled values in everything, whereas Ray Croc sees something bigger where everyone can enjoy.  A vision, adaptability and acceptance of new ideas is one that becomes harden in the latter than the former.  With this ‘division’ development, you see the film in a light where the blurring of ‘good and bad’ and ‘right and wrong’ become truer every step of the way.  After you become engrossed at this point, the film drags you to a specific ‘moment’ where you become aware of the legalities behind all the happenings of McDonalds.  Here, you learn firsthand how certain things led to the rise and fall of ownership.  After this point, the film goes down the predictable bit of the ‘aftermath effect’; showing all the consequences of one man’s vision to create an empire.  Once the epilogue comes, you are given an enlighten thought on how ‘fast food’ became prime; but also how values become construed within what ‘right and wrong’ means in the end.

The visuals are a simple complexion of a ‘period piece’ frame.  With the film taking place in the 1950s, you are given the look of how American Society was back then.  From the buildings, attire and the overall landscape; you become aware of the things and fall into the world of where McDonalds became king.  The score is mute at best; not really having any strong part in the film.

The Founder is a solid Biopic.  With some great acting and good storytelling of true events; you are given a tale that will have you seeing truth in another frame.  If you’re a fan of these kinds of films, this is one for you.  It is worth going to the theaters; a good time with you and your friends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *