The Founder (2016) Review

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A film looking at the rise of McDonald’s and the man who really kick started it Ray Kroc. After Dick and Mac came up with the brand new idea to really change restaurants in America (and then the world).

The story of how McDonald’s ended up taking over pretty much the world. We get to see how it was actually started out and how one man on a power trip decided to push it to reach its full potential. Ray Kroc is on his last chance to find something special to actually make money. He was selling Milkshake machines when he was contacted by Dick and Mac for an order of eight. Considering he was struggling to sell one he thought this was a little strange, he then made the trip to check out their establishment.

When he got there he had seen nothing like it before, considering in the 50s everywhere was drive thru but with car service. McDonald’s was different, you ordered yourself at the window and everything was served in paper to be easily thrown away. None of that is even the brilliant part instead of waiting 30 minutes for your order you only waited 30 seconds. I guess in a world now over run by fast food places it doesn’t really seem that strange. But everything starts somewhere and we get a chance to see how it started and then how it was grown.

The McDonald brothers had high standards and had tried to franchise the restaurant they created and loved. But due to that they were then not impressed with how they were run. They gave up on that and Dick’s dream of the golden arches was put on hold, everything would change though when Ray would not give up on getting them to try it again. He signed a contract with the brothers but it was evident that it would not last forever. He wanted to make money whereas Dick just wanted people to enjoy the experience.

An interesting story from a business point of view especially when Ray was down and almost out, in a failing marriage and threw everything into his final attempt at making big money. How owning land could really work in your favour as well as screwing people over.

Ambition, persistence and ruthlessness.

Those are the three key factors in succeeding in business according to Ray Kroc. We certainly saw that in his character from start to finish. Never giving up until he reached his dream. A truly fantastic performance from Michael Keaton, but would we really expect anything else from him over the past few years? I promise I am not being biased. He certainly transformed into the character and was very impressive with his mannerisms and passion.

The film does feel like it was attempting to be an awards season contender, with the whole true story, drama and previously nominated actor. In truth it was rightly nowhere near the awards as the story could have easily been just a made for TV film. Keaton is the bright light that makes it engaging enough, I think the release has then come at a tricky time of year to really do anything at the box office. But let’s face it who hasn’t visited McDonald’s in many different countries? I remember a school trip to France when the first chance we got for “normal” food was to head to McDonald’s!

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