The Founder is a film based on the true story of Ray Kroc, the man now known as the founder of the fast food chain McDonalds. It stars Michael Keaton in the main role, as he goes from a struggling milkshake salesman to the owner of one of the largest restaurant chains in the world.
The film also stars Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch as Dick and Mac McDonald, the creators of the original McDonalds restaurant in San Bernardino. It follows Ray as he enters into business with them offering to expand the restaurant into a franchise with multiple stores throughout America. This eventually leads to him usurping the brothers as he fights them for control of the brand in an effort to increase his profits.
Michael Keaton is such a fantastic actor and the biggest asset that the film has. He manages to make Kroc, a fairly unlikable character, into one that almost wins you over as an audience member. Offerman and Lynch as the McDonald brothers bring a lot of heart to the film, and play off Keaton pretty well.
The film does really struggle in the middle act though. As he expands the business the film knows that there just isn’t the material there, so the director, John Lee Hancock, had to pad it out. The film deviates into Kroc’s marital problems, which never really feels like it’s furthering the story much at all, and just wasn’t that interesting. His wife, played by Laura Dern gets very little to do, and Linda Cardellini as his second wife not much more.
It’s an interesting story, and Michael Keaton puts in a very captivating performance in the lead. But the film does rather crash to a halt in the middle despite him, and never feels like one that demands to be seen.