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I’m lovin’ it!

Michael Keaton stars as a capitalist bogeyman in The Founder

17 February, 2017 — By Dan Carrier

Directed by John Lee Hancock
Certificate 12a

THIS story of how McDonald’s got to feed 1 per cent of the global population every day shines for a variety of reasons.

The first is Michael Keaton in the lead as Ray Kroc, a milkshake-maker salesman who is stunned when a fast-food restaurant offers to buy eight of his machines (he was struggling to unload just the one, despite a well-honed sales patter).

Keaton takes us on Kroc’s journey as he meets, befriends and ultimately takes on the McDonald brothers, Mac and Dick, the siblings who have hit upon a wheeze they call Speedee dining, a Ford-style food production system that hit the 1950s American consumer-pop revolution at just the right time. However, they needed Kroc’s vision to take it out of a single plot in San Bernardino and get the Golden Arches nationwide. Keaton’s turn as the over-eager, scrupless burger fanatic personifying a key global symbol of 20th-century US dominance is super-sized.

The second reason is style: it feels like a moving Edward Hopper painting.

The third is subtlety. Kroc was a magpie, a stealer of gilt-edged ideas, and he spotted that the yokel McDonald brothers were on to something. This point is made when Kroc listens to a recorded speech saying “perseverance is everything” – and then hear him repeat it word for word to Ronald Reagan at the end.

Finally, beneath the main flip and fry of the yarn, is a moral about ambition and achievement.

The philosophy behind his success is clear. He is the archetypal a , someone who fails to understand life can be beautiful by finding non-materialist contentment and instead believes ever-rising profits are the only sign of success. Quantity of loot overrides quality of product. This gives The Founder a contemporary depth.


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