The Founder is not a movie about hamburgers. It’s a movie about business, and a good one: solid, compelling, and more than you expect. One thing we learn: Ray Kroc was a jerk. And when you think of it, a lot of big companies have been built by jerks. But what makes this movie good — beyond the journey itself — is that he’s a complicated, interesting character — if ultimately still a jerk.
How is Michael Keaton’s performance as McDonald’s self-proclaimed founder Ray Kroc? I gotta say, I’m lovin’ it. Keaton is firing on all cylinders in The Founder and he makes this electrifying film something to see.
Like Apple founder Steve Jobs, Kroc – who died in 1984 – had a genius for marketing the talent of others. Is that a lesser gift? Not in these United States. Not then. And not in the age of Trump. Set more than a half century ago, The Founder proves to be a movie for a divisive here and now. Step right up. You might just learn something. God help us.
A Times article on the movie’s production makes an interesting point:
…the film’s portrayal of Kroc comes with a notable irony: Unauthorized by the company, “The Founder” uses McDonald’s zealously guarded iconography to provide a bold visual tour through Kroc’s supposed hijacking of those same, mostly trademarked, images.
The Founder qualified for 2016 awards — I had thought it a Hail, Caesar!-type 2017 release which would not. As typical, the Academy is blind to the best (Variety discusses this). I hate to do it, but I must revise my 2016 list: The Founder knocks Sully out of the Top Five. 8/10
Comparison Notes (recommended): Big Eyes comes to mind – a good juxtaposition on the male businessman-jerk theme; Citizen Kane