The story of Ray Kroc, a salesman who turned two brothers' innovative fast food eatery, McDonald's, into the biggest restaurant business in the world, with a combination of ambition, persistence, and ruthlessness.
1954. Having worked as a salesman most of his adult life, Ray Kroc has been a hustler in most senses of the word. That hustling has made him the target of derision among certain circles for peddling what have ended up being more novelty or faddish than useful products, but it has also placed more than a comfortable roof in Arlington Heights, Illinois over his and his wife Ethel's heads. Ethel, however, wishes that he placed as much effort into being at home with her than he is in selling, his current job of peddling five-spindle milkshake makers for Prince Castle which has him constantly on the road going from one drive-in restaurant to another. It is because of the beefs he has with the whole drive-in experience (bad food, bad service) in constantly eating at such establishments while on the road that he becomes enthralled with the concept of McDonald's Restaurant in San Bernardino, California, it owned and operated by brothers Richard McDonald and Maurice McDonald - Dick and Mac. ...Written by
Director John Lee Hancock and producer Jeremy Renner provided Michael Keaton with a great amount of video footage and interviews of the real Ray Kroc as a reference for Kroc's voice, patterns of speech, and mannerisms. This included previously unpublished material unavailable even on the internet. See more »
When Ray Kroc looks in the map where San Bernardino is, the map shows the city of Santa Clarita. Santa Clarita was not incorporated until 1987. The story is supposed to happen in 1954. See more »
I know what you're thinkin'... What the heck do I need a 5-spindle for... when I barely sell enough milkshakes to justify my single-spindle. Right? Wrong. Are you familiar with the notion of the chicken or the egg Mr. Griffith, I mentioned... that there'd be costs. Well, I think it applies here. Do you not need the multimixer because, well heck, you're not selling enough milkshakes. Or are you not selling enough milkshakes because you don't have a multimixer? I firmly believe it's ...
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During the opening/closing credits, the real Ray A Kroc is heard giving an interview about how he came to buy out McDonald's. See more »
Written by Fritz Urban and Chris Streigler
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I'm Lovin' It
A competently crafted, steadily paced & extensively researched biographical drama that's further uplifted by Michael Keaton's fantastic performance, The Founder covers the rags to riches tale of an ambitious salesman who sensed & tapped the potential of a small fast-food diner in California and turned it into one of the largest & most successful restaurant chains in the world with a bit of hustle, persistence & ruthlessness.
Set in the 1950s, The Founder tells the story of Ray Kroc, a travelling salesman who comes across a small diner operated by two McDonald brothers in San Bernardino, California and is left dazzled by their lightning-fast service, high-quality food & strong work ethic. Wanting to be a part of their business, he joins them as their franchising agent to expand the fast-food chain all over America, and ultimately buys the company from the brothers.
Directed by John Lee Hancock, The Founder is as much about the cut-throat world of business as it is about the rise of McDonald's, and is told in an intuitive manner that keeps the interest alive at all times. Hancock handles the subject matter with restraint, maintains a firm grip over all aspects, and never deviates from the main premise. Also, the momentum is never lost as it moves from the discovery, creation, operation & expansion of McDonald's to the ultimate swindling.
The old style McDonald's restaurants depicted in the film are in tune with the timeline this film is set in and the vast countryside shooting locations help in further evoking its 1950s era. The sharp focus & still handling of camera, in addition to its warm colour palette, helps in providing a homely texture to its images. Editing keeps the pace steady and provides a tight & gripping structure to its plot while Carter Burwell's score is ever present in the background and silently performs its duties.
Coming to the performances, The Founder features a talented cast in Michael Keaton, John Carroll Lynch, Nick Offerman, Linda Cardellini, Patrick Wilson, B.J. Novak & Laura Dern. Leading from the front is Keaton who delivers another strong performance in what's the second coming of his acting career as he brings Kroc to life with flair, passion & panache. Lynch & Offerman are in as McDonald brothers and play their part convincingly, plus the moments between them & Kroc is as amusing as it is riveting.
On an overall scale, The Founder is a carefully investigated & smartly scripted biopic that's just as informative as it is entertaining and wonderfully illustrates the rise of the man who dared to dream bigger and single-handedly turned a small fast-food restaurant into a billion-dollar conglomerate with his aggressive business practices. It's also commendable for keeping Kroc's personal life out of the main narrative, something most Hollywood biopics are guilty of. A mostly satisfying journey, this story of McDonald's made me go "I'm Lovin' It" more than once over the course of its runtime, and is definitely worth a shot.
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