Written By Jacob Chimilar (Letteboxd: Sweetlows)
Films like Steve Jobs and The Social Network always fascinate me. I like seeing what goes on behind the scenes and seeing what it takes to turn an idea into a world changing company. The Founder showcases what it means to have a good idea as well as what it takes to have that idea make money. At the center is Ray Kroc, a salesman who was pounding the pavement selling whatever he thought would be the next big thing. One day he comes across the McDonald Brothers and their restaurant and that's when everything changed.
Fast paced, sharp and extremely engaging, The Founder makes for an excellent tale of rags to riches and what a man will do to see a dream come to life. The performances across the board are excellent. Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc brings that go-getter attitude that leaps off the screen, pulls you in and keeps you locked to see what he will do next. Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch as Dick and Mac McDonald turn in equally impressive performances as a couple of bright men who were forward thinking creative men looking to build something they could be proud of. The supporting cast of Laura Dern, Kate Kneeland and B.J. Novak round out the main cast and allow enough support to showcase the various sides of Ray Kroc and the vision he has for McDonald's.
The writing is excellent. The one liners and various conversations, especially those between Kroc and the McDonalds is intense and tragic but at times quite funny. The direction didn't really lend anything extra to the picture I found, nothing too flashy, it was just a well put together, nicely edited and briskly paced film that seemed to nail it's time period with excellent set dressings and costumes while not dwelling in fact that it is the time in which it is set.
It's not the most weighty affair, things are kept pretty light for the most part. Adhering to "it's nothing personal just business" and it does bleed into real life but it doesn't tend to dwell too much on it either as there is just so much story to tell. The scene where the McDonald's explain how they came up with the concept was wonderful and upon the film's end kind of sad. What was once a from the ground up honest and revolutionary idea was turned into something less than it was intended for the sake of profit and it was clear that right to the end the McDonald's wanted fast, quality food to be something special. It's hard to think of McDonald's as that now but at one point that was the goal and it is like watching the slow then all at once death of a company that was once an honest business trying to do right by it's people.
If you like stories of honest people, underdogs and dreamers you'll have a good time with this film. It moves fast, explores an interesting story and puts capitalism in it's sights and shows what can happen when someone with a big vision comes along and can change everything you thought you knew about business.