The Founder (2016)
Directed by John Lee Hancock
Written by Robert Siegel
Starring: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Laura Dern
Ray Kroc took two brothers’ restaurant concept and turned it into an empire. Getting it done took a mix of luck, ingenuity, and ruthless business tactics.
This movie is based on both the autobiography of Ray Kroc and an unauthorized biography. Robert Siegel (The Wrestler) wrote the script, with John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side) directing. Michael Keaton (Spotlight) stars in the film along with Nick Offerman (Hearts Beat Loud), John Carroll Lynch (Crazy, Stupid, Love.), and Laura Dern (Wild).
The writers do a nice job hitting the ground running with this one. The story has a solid pace and jumps in and out of the timeline at key moments. The central characters in the story are all very well-developed, and add a richness to a story with a predictable outcome. The dialogue also plays a big part in making the characters interesting. The dialogue shifts with the overall tone of the story, helping to create a unique kind of tension. While the end of the story isn’t really a mystery, the journey is the reason to watch this one. What’s missing from this story is a sense of where things should end. This one should’ve had a more impactful ending, similar to something like The Social Network. By going too far, this one loses some of the impact. There is also a lack of building tension that might have helped this one later in the film. While there are some issues, this is a decent story with some fascinating moments throughout.
The story might have some issues, but that didn’t stop the actors from putting on a show. Michael Keaton leads the way with a great performance. Throughout the movie Keaton makes the right adjustments to his character to fit the changing tone of the story. His performance creates a character who is initially likeable, and almost sympathetic. He slowly strips this away, showing us a whole different person by the end of the film. He’s got a lot of good actors to work with in this one. Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch do a good job working together to create the McDonald brothers. Their great chemistry with one another plays an important part in the story. They also find the right connection with Keaton. Laura Dern also does good work with a smaller but important role in the film. As a whole, the cast did a nice job bringing this one to life.
Production designer Michael Corenblith (Saving Mr. Banks) deserves a lot of credit for the visual success of this movie. He worked with the production staff to create exact replicas of the original McDonald’s restaurants. This was accomplished by studying old photos, blueprints, and training material to make sure that the setups were authentic. The costuming also does a nice job bringing the era of the story to life. The cinematography is strong, and the editing keeps this one moving along nicely. The film also has a nice score, composed by Carter Burwell (No Country for Old Men).
This is a good movie that has some great moments. While the performances are solid, the writing doesn’t quite hit the mark. Fans of the stars might want to check this one out. I would also suggest this one to fans of biopics. I give this one 3.2 out of 5 stars.