John Lee Hancock’s The Founder is about the world’s largest fast-food franchise and is ironically reminiscent of the newly elected US President Donald Trump. While it instantaneously makes you hate the brand for its dirty methods of doing business, it acts as a reminder on how men like Trump have always existed among us, who sell garbage, yet shamelessly vow to make the world a better place.
This is the life story of the founder of the brand Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), a man who had a past as normal as you can expect, encompassing tons of struggle to make a living. But one goddamn idea changed his life forever. Spilling the beans would be doing injustice to this delicious biopic that holds sway because of Keaton’s phenomenal performance as the nefarious entrepreneur.
Soon to be seen in Marvel’s Spiderman: Homecoming, Keaton’s selection of films has vastly improved in the last few years. He first surprised us in Alejandro Inarritu’s Birdman (2014) and followed it up with a robust performance in Spotlight (2015). Keaton has again picked a film that not just entertains but is also socially relevant.
Be it the dialogue-laden scenes or his transformation from a sanguine to a greedy, aggressive man, Keaton shines throughout. Equal credit to writer Robert Siegel for penning a screenplay that gives us relatable characters and astutely captures the heights of obsession a man can go to.
It’s open to argument that Siegel could have been more specific in describing how Kroc went from being an opportunist to a downright hustler. But his work is still commendable considering the comical elements stuffed in the film (especially in the first half). It explains that the writer and the director were aiming to make a feel-good film, abstaining from showing anyone in bad light.
Besides Keaton in the central role, the rest of the cast ably supports the film. Nick Offerman and John Lynch stand out as the two brothers Dick and Mac. Their one particular scene offers a hilarious joke about making McDonalds less appetizing to the kids and teenagers.
The film does raise a lot of maddening questions about the consumer culture. But The Founder will be remembered entirely for Keaton’s performance.
It’s sure to get nominated next year at the Academy awards. Go see it. It’s a happy meal which might just be your last with the establishment.
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