Juicy hamburgers, crisp french fries and creamy milkshakes: these are all American staples that millions of Americans enjoy when they enter any McDonald’s. The story of the founder of McDonald’s, however, is not as golden as the arch might indicate. Nevertheless, “The Founder” is an All-American movie that traces the journey of businessman Ray Kroc, from his humble beginnings in a small restaurant chain that he opened to his creation of a multinational company.
Kroc traded his days of carting bulky milkshake mixers from diner to diner around the country for a life as the CEO of McDonald’s Corporation. Kroc, played by actor Michael Keaton, put on a larger than life performance and did a masterful job of illustrating Kroc’s grit and perseverance.
Right from the beginning of the movie, Kroc tries to sell the McDonald brothers milkshake stand mixers and is immediately impressed by the brothers’ speedy method of running their restaurant operation. It’s clear that a partnership will form between Kroc and the two brothers Dick and Mac McDonald.
But any business deal isn’t without it’s faults, and tension between Kroc and the McDonald brothers keeps viewers engaged. In a scene that packs a particularly strong emotional punch, Kroc slams down the telephone on Dick McDonald after they reach a deadlock in the middle of a weighty business decision.
I began to see that Kroc would stop at nothing to achieve success, even resorting to shortcuts that would allow the company to withstand the competition. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Keaton realizes that he can make a creamy vanilla milkshake by simply mixing a packet of instant milkshake mix into a glass of water. Goodbye archaic milkshake mixers, and hello profit!
But at some point, Kroc’s determination to succeed overpowers; he changes from an endearing and ambitious salesman to a businessman as greasy as the patty on a quarter pounder.
Towards the end of the movie, I grew tired of Kroc’s emerging ego and wished that we got a better sense of minor characters’ personalities, like Kroc’s wife Ethel and his future lover, Joan. Keaton’s splendid acting aside, “The Founder” doesn’t do justice to many important aspects of a movie, including the soundtrack and storytelling. The music, for instance, was lacking and ominous, and the color scheme of the movie was composed entirely of drab shades of red and yellow.
While “The Founder” does have its merits and is a must-watch for any fast food aficionado, I sincerely believe that Director John Lee Hancock could have taken this compelling story to the next level.
– Eshani Kishore – Features Editor –