Film Review: The Founder

Director John Lee Hancock’s The Founder is memorable thanks to a charismatic performance from the always watchable Michael Keaton.

Ray Kroc is a milkshake machine sales man struggling for orders. When burger restaurant McDonald’s places an order, Ray is astounded by their innovative take on diner service. Ray wants to franchise the restaurant, but must convince owners Dick and Mac McDonald…

The Founder is essentially the story of how McDonald’s went from a single eatery in San Bernardino, California, to one of the most recognisable brands in the world. However, the film is the tale of an anti-hero in a world that goes beyond black and white depictions.

The most interesting thing about The Founder is that it avoids the common archetypes. Ray Kroc is portrayed as a multi-faceted protagonist. He is neither the hardworking guy who helps to monetise a great idea, nor the greedy, unscrupulous salesman who gets rich from the invention of others. Instead, he sits somewhere in between. The film is all the better for not casting too firm a judgement on his character. Similarly, his interactions with others, ranging from charming to nasty, further reflect that this is a flawed but believable character.

As the film progresses, it is clear that there will not be a satisfactory outcome for the McDonald brothers. Yet again, these two characters are not depicted exclusively as victims, although it is hard not to feel a pang of sympathy for them by the end of the movie. Nevertheless, the brothers are not depicted in an entirely positive light (their resistance to new ideas, for example), again echoing the light and shade of the central character. The film is predictable in places, but decent storytelling and good performances make it worthwhile.

Michael Keaton is fantastic as Ray Kroc. Keaton brings a nervous energy to the role, ramping it up in key scenes to deliver a most convincing performance. John Carroll Lynch and Nick Offerman are decent as the McDonald brothers, whilst Linda Cardellini is memorable in a minor role. Laura Dern is great as the weary wife Ethel Kroc.

The Founder pulls no punches in telling the origins tale of one of the world’s largest corporations. The film is a wonderful showcase for Michael Keaton’s talents.

Previews: Lady Macbeth trailer, Raw, More!

This week’s preview of coming attractions include the Lady Macbeth trailer, RawLogan, The Founder and more…

Lady Macbeth Trailer

This Lady Macbeth trailer is most striking. Based on a nineteenth-century novella, the film is about a young woman stifled by her loveless marriage to a much older man. Starring Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, and Paul Hilton, Lady Macbeth will be released in UK cinemas on 28th April 2017.

Raw Trailer

Raw is about a vegetarian student who is forced to eat meat during hazing rituals at veterinary college. So far so strange, but the coming-of-age film takes a darker turn. Julia Ducournau’s debut film was screened at last year’s BFI London Film Festival. Raw will hit UK screens on 7th April 2017.

Logan Poster

This new poster for the upcoming Wolverine movie Logan evokes The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ever so slightly. With director James Mangold at the helm, this latest X-Men film sees a weathered Logan and a fading Professor Xavier trying to stop the destruction of the world. Starring Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, Logan bounds on to UK screens on 1st March 2017.

Viceroy’s House Clip

Here is a clip from the upcoming Viceroy’s House. I was thinking ‘this is a bit Downton in India’ then Hugh Bonneville popped up. Set during the final months of British rule in India, the film also stars Gillian Anderson, Manish Dayal, and Michael Gabon. Directed by Gurinder Chadha, Viceroy’s House will be released in UK cinemas on 3rd March 2017.

The Founder Trailer

You could probably sell most film’s on the charisma of Michael Keaton alone. The Founder, however, seems to offer more than this. Focusing on the salesman who turned McDonald’s into a international franchise, the film also stars Laura Dern and Nick Offerman. The Founder hits UK screens on 10th February 2017.