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The true story of how Ray Kroc, a salesman from Illinois, met Mac and Dick McDonald, who were running a burger operation in 1950s Southern California. Kroc was impressed by the brothers’ speedy system of making the food and saw franchise potential. He maneuvered himself into a position to be able to pull the company from the brothers and create a billion-dollar empire.

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The Founder movie full length review - Fast Food Nation

Based on the true story of Ray Kroc, a traveling salesman who franchised the first family-owned McDonald's restaurant and turned it into the international conglomerate that it is today, 'The Founder' tells a fascinating slice of twentieth century history.

The title is well chosen, hinting at the dynamic at the heart of the film with Kroc declaring himself the "founder" of McDonald's when in fact the idea of fast and efficient food service was never his to begin with - something that becomes a point of contention with the original owners. Michael Keaton is excellent in the lead role, exuding both charm and charisma while also always coming off as if he has something up his sleeve. There are several great shots throughout that linger on his face in close-up as he delivers persuasive sales pitches and there is a magnificent sequence late in the piece where several of his sermons in different locations are edited together to overlap as one big speech. Keaton also does well coming off as both victim and aggressor at varying points. At times, he comes across as an all-too-sympathetic underdog whose dreams are hindered by the McDonalds brothers' unwillingness to compromise in the name of progress. At other points, he seems insanely ruthless with how he circumvents everything in his way. Telling a similar slice of contemporary history, 'The Founder' is bound to be compared to 'The Social Network', to which it does not stack up as well, but it deserves to be considered as a film on its own. The storytelling approach here is more comedic than in the Facebook film and while 'The Founder' may have benefited from even more comedy to lighten the mood, it is an amusing film as it is - and a thought-provoking film when considers its basis in actual fact.