Sunday, January 22, 2017

Movie Review: The Founder

The background story of how McDonald's came to be on every street, delivering fast service is the story of Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) and his persistence. Keaton is great as the struggling businessman trying to sell milkshake machines to restauranteurs. When he hears of a large order, he visits the restaurant run by the two McDonald brothers, Dick (Nick Offerman) and Mac (John Carroll Lynch). Kroc immediately sees that this formula could be highly and works to convince the brothers to create a franchise.

I found the story behind the brother trials and tribulations incredibly interesting and was fascinated with their outline of the restaurant and their constant working of the routine to arrange the restaurant so they could deliver services fast. Ray returns home to his wife Ethel (Laura Dern) and encounters skepticism. The doubt not only extends to his wife but bankers and country club members also dismiss his notion that this restaurant chain will be revolutionary.

Mac believes that the contract will hold Ray Kroc in check, despite Dick's worries that Ray will take advantage of them and steal their name. Ray works hard to build up the franchise continuing open stores all across the country. He is unable to make any money until he encounters Harry J. Sonneborn (B.J. Novak) who encourages him to invest in property. Meanwhile, Kroc falls for the wife of a franchisee, Joan Smith (Linda Cardellini) and she proposes using Instamix instead of actually milkshake ingredients.

The disagreements grow as Ray demands more power and money, trying to renegotiate his deal with the brothers who insist that he must stick to the contract. Ray gives up on the contract and this bleeds into his personal life as he asks his wife for a divorce. Owning the property gives Ray more power and he is able to take the brothers' idea and turn it into his property, stripping the men even of their name.

Keaton is a great and so are Lynch and Offerman as the duped brothers who see the theft happening but are helpless to stop it. The movie explores the double-crossing and ruthlessness required for monumental success. Ray Kroc had a dream and he did not let anything get in the way of that. I highly enjoyed this movie and would recommend to those who are curious about success in the service industry and the history of this ubiquitous fast food restaurant. The movie won't get much recognition during awards season but I thought it was great entertainment and informative, even if not totally factual. 

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