The Founder


Burger biopic with Michael Keaton as McDonald's founder Ray Kroc Discuss this article

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The title of this burger biopic drips with irony: Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) may have sold himself as the founder of the McDonald’s empire, but the truth was a little different. Kroc was an on-the-road milkshake mixer salesman when he stumbled across the McDonald brothers and their Speedee Service System, a fast-food assembly line that would revolutionise the industry.

At heart, this is yet another story of an ambitious man who gains the world but loses his soul (shots of Kroc framed at his desk like Al Pacino in The Godfather Part II hammer the point home).

The cast is uniformly superb: Keaton is all slick surface charm and underlying bulldog snarl, while Laura Dern suffers in silence as his decent wife Ethel. The two liveliest performances come from Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch as Dick and Mac McDonald, the brothers whose efforts to keep Kroc on a leash are doomed.

As a study of amoral ambition and corporate cruelty, this is undoubtedly timely. But the 1950s suburban setting and Kroc’s avaricious trajectory are too familiar: there’s nothing here we didn’t see in Mad Men.

Like the product that inspired it, The Founder is tasty enough while it lasts but never quite fills you up.

The bottom line
Tasty snack in need of supersizing.

By Tom Huddleston
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

The Founder

  • Duration: 115
  • Released: Tue, 20 Dec
  • Language: English
  • Director: John Lee Hancock
  • Stars: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch

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