biography drama film review

The Founder Review

By Ian Morton

A solid performance from Michael Keaton combined with a safe story make The Founder one of the more enjoyable biographies of the last few years.

The Founder tells the humble, yet tumultuous beginnings of McDonalds and how middle aged salesman Ray Kroc (Keaton) turned a little burger joint in California into a worldwide franchise.

As far as direction goes, John Lee Hancock does a pretty decent job behind the camera. Much like his previous films, Hancock once again plays it safe, opting to tell the story from beginning to end without trying to arrange the plot around pivotal moments of villainy. This pays off as the structure remains strong even if it does take a little time to get going in the beginning.

In the same vein as classic biographies, The Social Network, Steve Jobs and Moneyball, The Founder tries its hardest find the drama behind one of the biggest corporations on the planet. For the most part it succeeds but unlike the former 3 however, it does fall slightly short as the constant attempt at trying to add drama often uncovers plot holes rather than add narrative depth. This stands out particularly in the moments surrounding money in the film. We are constantly lead to believe that our main protagonist is on the edge of bankruptcy yet somehow he always manages to unearth himself from crippling debt regardless of how many final notices he gets stuffed through the letterbox. Although the entirity of the film is well structured, these little bits do manage to leave a sour taste, especially as it effects the supporting roles in the film.

In somewhat of a renaissance, Michael Keaton finds himself once again smashing another character piece out of the park. Shining front and centre, his performance will keep the audience interested, almost to the point where other cast members hardly get a look in. Its not to say that the rest of them aren’t strong in their own right, its more that the story really never gives them the opportunity to shine. Oscar nominated Laura Dern for instance, known for her eclectic roles is reduced to a boring housewife while Nick Offerman, famous for his dark humour and quick wit, only really gets a time to stretch his legs in the opening 20 minutes.

Overall, The Founder is a safe story that slowly bumbles along until its ultimate conclusion. While it does suffer from the occasional plot hole, Keaton’s performance in the lead is more than enough to get you through the front door. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Still catching up on that bucket list of movies from 2016? Check out what we thought of the years movies with out top 10’s:

Morton’s Top 10 films of 2016

Crow’s Top 10 Films of 2016



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