The Founder movie jumps into the detailing of how one of the most successful American dreams was built, pampered and then snatched. Did you ever stop to think that McBurger you have been devouring voraciously was once greased in dreams, fried in resilience and then eventually toppled over by a spatula of greed? That a man named Ray Kroc coveted for someone else’s dream, and then swept it away from right under their nose. No! You just want to eat that burger!
It is a biography of the journey of McDonald’s and the big role Ray Kroc plays to make it into this humongous fast food chain. But his path to success would repulse you because it plays unfair games.
Plot of the Founder Movie (Spoilers)
The Founder movie begins with Kroc trying to sell his Milkshake Makers always pushing for that one shot that would change his destiny. Always on the lookout for that big thing! That’s when he comes across the place that were to change his life forever.
A small diner serves extraordinary burgers and amazingly fast too. He gets smitten with their idea of serving food so fast and decides to pay the owners a visit. McDonald’s is run by Maurice McDonald portrayed by John Carroll Lynch and Richard McDonald played by Nick Offerman. They let him in on their secret and tell him how they run things. It’s one of the cardinal stories of how McDonald’s was dreamt and built from scratch. It is beautifully run, a tad lengthy to be honest, but crucial given the theme of the flick. You can sense how much energy, time and effort was spent in their moulding of a dream.
When that bit gets over, we see Kroc rooting for them, beseeching them to run a franchise. When they tell him they tried and failed at it miserably, he reassures them that this time they won’t. With that he signs a contract with them, and expands. The expansion rakes in more moolah and suddenly he is at the top of the world. The franchise grows however so does the dispute between Kroc and the McDonald’s. The former used to earn a meagre percentage off the benefits reaped in, which forces him to consult someone who changes his life. In comes Harry J. Sonneborn played by B. J. Novak who flings an idea that makes a wolf out of Kroc.
The Real Estate Bolster
The ravenous Kroc as suggested by Harry starts buying chunks of land by creating his own company thereby not falling under the radar of the brothers. Thus the real money begins to flow as he keeps expanding the company all over states. He names the company “The McDonald’s Corporation” without consulting the brethren and rips them off paying them 1.35 millions each taking the reins of the company entirely in his hands. He shakes on 1% of future earnings to be given to them as well however doesn’t sign on it.
With that he announces himself as the “Founder” justifying the titular movie name, gloating his win with a trophy wife Joan Smith played by Linda Cardellini by his side, who he steals away from one of his business associates Rollie Smith played by Patrick Wilson.
We see his gradual decline into this monstrous image that we expected him to be the opposite of. Business is a vile thing. It creates fiends out of human beings. That’s what the Founder proves to. The final moments see the brothers changing the name of their diner as per the contract. It’s a sad sight watching their dream tumble down like that. Also since that 1% was never actually written down in a contract, they are never really paid for it as well.
The Unscrupulous Precinct
When you try to pay attention to what Ray Kroc was all about, you cannot really blame him for what he did. He was a businessman who tasted success. He abided by the laws of business wherein he was ready to take desperate measures to stay at the top. In his own words:
“If I saw a competitor drowning, I’d shove a hose down his throat.”
If you were to justify his decisions, he seems right on a lot of points. McDonald’s lacked vision until Ray Kroc walked in. If it weren’t for him, people all across the globe might not even have heard about it. So even though his steps seemed kind of desperate and immoral, ultimately it helped in getting the job done.
But then again, he brought the original brothers to his knees which makes him demonic in a way. Building an empire by stepping on someone’s chest. It is unscrupulous of any human being to do such an inhumane act, and that’s why you can’t really come to terms with it too.
I am afraid the movie shows Ray Kroc in a little bit of bad light, but that’s the beauty of John Lee Hancock‘s project. It leaves us with questions on what we should call fair, and what not.
You can order the Founder movie here:
The movie scores a tad low in the drama front. The primary reason for that being that half of the time you are made to believe that it’s actually comical. But what’s happening is far more grave. It is the brothers Mac and Dick that make it sound like that, but slowly the movie steps into ghastly waters when things start looking up for Ray. With the tone of the flick it was hard to tell however.
Laura Dern is shown in a bleak light, with dramatic vibes missing in her character of Ethel Kroc. It is sad how Ray picks her out of his life and throws her away like dirt.
Screenplay isn’t that exciting either except for cliches of success going on in the backdrop that are actually pretty great. The most heartfelt moment of the movie however stays in the struggling moments of Ray when he bends down to pick a fistful of sand, and with all his heart says,
“Just be right this one time. One time.”
It makes his character instantly relatable. All those dreamers who are struggling in life, waiting for their big moment to hit them, for their right decision to happen, would empathize profusely with his state of mind.
The flick might be vexing for some who are not used to watching lengthy biographies. This is however for the visionaries, and those who wish to grasp what really goes down in a business, and also for those who wish to know the actual story behind McDonald’s fame.
The Final Verdict
The Founder movie stays uplifted owing to Michael Keaton‘s mesmerizing performance as Ray Kroc. You can see him transpire into a wicked businessman gradually which suits his persona perfectly. It is a rip off for the original owners, a story that a lot of people don’t know about. Hence, if you wish to know how it all came into existence, whether it was an egg or a hen that led the pack, this movie should not be missed for the world.
Check out the trailer of The Founder Movie here: