Keaton’s A Burger King
It’s Oscar season again and that can only mean that mean that eventually England will get the awards contenders, the latest hot tip is the “true life” tale of the “founder” of Macdonald’s, Ray Croc. But the real question is will this end in a Happy Meal ?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, biography movies are weird. You never quite know what is legitimate and what’s fabricated, ironically the more ordinary a film, the more authentic it seems to feel. This is why The Founder rings so true with us, the entire story seems totally feasible, there are no acts of lunacy like The Wolf Of Wall Street here. This is a movie about one man and his desire to succeed, no matter what the cost.
It seems like a boring story on paper, “The man who gave us McDonalds”, who cares? The man behind KFC has a real story but I don’t see a movie called “Finger Licking Good” being made any time soon. So why should we care? We should care, dear reader because this isn’t the story of the man who gave us McDonalds but how Ray Croc stole the idea of two brothers.
The Founder is less a story about fast food outlets and a study in how to create a villain, because ultimately that’s what Ray Croc is, a villain. Like all great bad guys he doesn’t start out like that. No, he starts off as a good hard working man with a dream, then as time progresses his desire for his dream eclipses his morals. That is how all great villains are created, by the eclipsing of morals.
It takes the greatest of actors to make us understand and even care for a bad person. This is where we find Michael Keaton, starring in the title role as “The Founder” Ray Croc. It is his subtly in actions that make The Founder such a successful film to watch. When we first find Ray he is a failing milkshake salesman, and slowly throughout the film he is peeled away to reveal less and less of the man who was shown in the opening of the movie, until we arrive at our conclusion and see the true horror of what we have witnessed.
Next to and at time opposite Keaton are Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch, as The Mcdonald’s brothers. The true creators of McDonald’s. Offerman comes across like a hard businessman who has a strong value in their product while Lynch is a more caring and kind hearted soul. They are the perfect foil for Keaton’s unmerciful portrayal.
Oscar films are becoming a specialty of John Lee Hancock, whose previous work includes The Blind Side and Saving Mr. Banks. With The Founder he has struck something that feels both familiar and unique. This is because the film uses humour to its advantage.
The Founder is a valuable addition to the biography genre, with a powerhouse performance from Keaton and a true untold story, this is one film that’s worth going large on.