The Founder from 2016 comes to us on a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD combo pack. The film stars Michael Keaton in the story of the expansion of the fast food restaurant McDonald’s.
Director John Lee Hancock (the Rookie, Blind Side, Saving Mr Banks) does a decent job at yet again developing a biopic based around a real story. The Founder‘s cast is chock-full of recognizable actors and actresses. Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Laura Dern, B.J. Novak, Patrick Wilson, and Linda Cardellini round out the main cast. I thought the film did a good job recreating a 50’s vibe. Depending on how much you know about the history of McDonald’s or the surrounding area from that time period will change your level of enjoyment, as not everything is super accurate.
Michael Keaton stars as Ray Kroc, a somewhat fledgling salesman who seemingly jumps at every new idea that he thinks he can make a buck on. He dreams of going to the next level and as viewers we see him practicing his speech, and listening to motivational records. I thought Keaton did a good job at acting but I never really bought into the movie or got absorbed by his story.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy these types of films. Some of my favorites are There Will Be Blood, Casino, and the Social Network which thematically all seem to have a similar script but seem to be much more interestingly filmed and executed. I never felt lost in the story, it kept me away at arms length. There is quite a bit of exposition in the first 30 minutes of the Founder, but I would have preferred it to just be shown to us rather than over explained. In that aspect it feels less cinematic and more like a play. As the Keaton character arc goes on I found myself less and less interested in him and his motivations. Although again, I do think he did a good performance.
It takes a certain type of person to be a legitimately good salesman and the Founder really hammers that home. I think the less you know about the real story that the film presents the more interesting it may be to you. It practically has a 2 hour run time but still it only covers the very first parts of the McDonald’s empire. So if you are hoping to see Ronald in clown makeup, or the start of Happy Meals or it’s market share fights with other major competitors unfortunately that will not be found here. Also if you want to explore in depth the actual founders of the original restaurant and see a movie based around them this too is not the film you want to see.
Without getting into major spoilers the film focuses mostly on Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) and his efforts to franchise the McDonald’s name and way of conducting speedy service. It doesn’t really delve too heavily on his personal life. It’s also not really a psychological study on the type of man he is. Apparently the film took 22 days to film and it unfortunately feels like it. I think with more time and care spent this could have been a very interesting and special film, but instead we just got a decent one.
The audio and visuals are solid and exactly what you would expect a modestly budgeted modern film to look like. The audio is very dialog heavy with a light score. English SDH and Spanish subtitles are included.
Behind the Scenes Gallery – A quick 5 part feature with plot recap, production designs and background information. Around 20 minutes total run time.
Press Conference – A 37 minute discussion with some of the cast and crew
The Founder Final Thoughts:
The movie was adequately filmed and the actors did a nice job. There is nothing award winning or memorable done here unfortunately. I don’t really have strong feelings for the film. It’s not dark enough to be a psychological study of an interesting character. It’s not light enough to be a feel good movie. It just sort of sits there after you watch it, much like eating a bit too much McDonald’s. If that sounds like your idea of a good time then you can purchase here at Amazon but for everyone else I suggest a rental first.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.