The Founder is a biopic that tells the story of how McDonald’s came to be the global fast food franchise that it is. Now, as someone who spent four years studying economics at university, I have a very high tolerance for boring business type case studies but this film took ‘mind-numbingly dull’ to a whole new level. That’s not to say it isn’t an interesting story; it’s full of deception, unwavering business drive and revolutionary thinking – the sort of complete capitalist screwing over that you’d be enthralled by if you were reading it in a newspaper. But there was nothing about this film that convinced me Ray Kroc’s devious ways needed a cinematic outing.
Kroc (who would be more aptly named Crook!), played by Michael Keaton, is the worst kind of villain as he swarms in on the McDonald brothers family run business with dreams of going multinational. By ‘worst kind of villain’ I mean he’s the sort of villain you don’t even love to hate; by the end of the film, his slimy self-important venom really begins to grate. But I couldn’t root for the McDonald brothers either. They make stupid decision after stupid decision all of which is reeled out in Robert Siegel’s screenplay in the most monotonous of fashions. There’s no light or shade, urgency or anticipation; akin to reading the driest of text book case studies – it’s void of all emotion.
Yes, the cinematography is nostalgically pretty and I suppose the surprisingly deep ensemble cast (including an underused Laura Dern as a generic wife) do well with the material they have to work with, but it all culminates into a bland piece that made me lose interest pretty rapidly. I give The Founder a rating of 2/5.