The Founder Movie Review
Michael Keaton delivers one of the most deliciously fun performances of the year in the highly entertaining if somewhat slight drama The Founder, about the man who turned McDonald’s into one of the largest companies on the planet.
Keaton plays Ray Kroc, an ambitious if hotheaded entrepreneur who sees opportunity in a local fast food restaurant that truly delivers its food fast, cheap and efficiently. He signs a deal with the two owners (played by Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch) to franchise the business, a move that that ultimately pays off handsomely--but not for everyone.
The movie, directed by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side), is a fun, flighty film, a drama that hints at comedy but refuses to go the funny route. Still, Keaton thrives in his role, embellishing Kroc’s charm and exuberance in a way that makes you smile, even when he’s being a bit of a dick. While The Founder certainly paints Kroc in a favorable light, Hancock and writer Robert Siegel (The Wrestler) give fair weight to both him and the original owners; their constant sparring makes for fine cinema.
That said, The Founder never quite finds its dramatic hook; as much as you want Kroc to succeed, as much as Keaton helps you understand how Kroc’s mind works, Hancock never convinces you to love his movie. Instead, The Founder is Keaton’s film, a playground for him to flex his acting muscles and deliver the type of off kilter performance you expect from Michael Keaton. He’s an absolute scene stealer.
The Founder isn’t an amazing film, but it’s amazingly fun, a fast-paced, tightly told and easy-to-enjoy drama featuring a great performance by Mr. Keaton.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.