McDonalds is a name known to many. It’s a brand that transcends language barriers. It’s a global franchise that reaches young and old alike. There is no escaping the size of it’s domination, with the advertisements for it’s very own one hundred percent beef burgers being shown before the film. The fact that I passed no less than two of its restaurants on my journey to the cinema. Therefore, It was only a matter of time until a film was made with this fast food chain as the subject. ‘The Founder’ is that film, but would audiences be ‘lovin’ it‘?
Unfortunately the very success of McDonalds is the reason for the first problem with the film. Audiences know that it becomes a massive business model, this therefore removes quite a bit of the intrigue and suspense that would usually be present with a biopic. We are aware of the conclusion to the story and because of this the journey to this end point needed to be really entertaining. It’s a shame that the film starts with quite a slow pace. Through the narrative, editing and even the music. These cause the film to move at a meandering pace when it needed the faster movement and editing of films like ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ & ‘The Big Short’. Thankfully within this slower pace there is at least some quality performances to appreciate. It would be hard not to be entertained by Michael Keaton. He continues his recent form here with his portrayal of business man Ray Kroc. Alongside him Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch play the other most significant roles in the film, the McDonald brothers, the original founders of the fast food giant. Keaton has a great back and forth with these two actors, especially Offerman. Often this chemistry is essential for keeping the film engaging. It also offers a thought provoking dilemma for the audience too, whose way of doing business is better?
For quite a portion of the film I was left thinking to myself that I’d rather be eating McDonalds food than getting a history lesson about their origin. However, as the film unfolded it did become more interesting. I found that rather than solely being about the growth of restaurant the film regularly shed light on the victims that were left in its wake. At times it was hard to know what to feel, especially when the story isn’t really told from these people’s perspective. Instead we get to see things from in many ways the antagonist of the narrative. This dynamic worked well for ‘The Founder’ though, allowing a new level of engagement for audiences opposed to the usual by the numbers biopics. As the film progresses through it’s final act it continues to escalate in drama and audiences interest levels will no doubt peak here. Before the credits roll viewers are treated to some final information which allows for a bittersweet closure to the picture by serving up some hard truths to stomach.
So whilst the film as a whole isn’t amazing it’s not one that you’ll regret seeing. The slower pace and seemingly obvious narrative don’t help start things off well. Although the performances and chemistry between the cast somewhat make up for this. Futhermore when the crucial facts behind this franchise’s creation are revealed and the victims are given some spotlight the film becomes much more worthy of attention. At the same time that the film gives some thought to all the individuals involved, it, just like the world of today, focuses on the successful being a brutal lesson into just how cutthroat business can be.
Rating – 7/10
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