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Supersize he: Review of The Founder by Rashid Irani

Michael Keaton stars as the ruthless dealmaker who took over and transformed a roadside burger stand.

movie reviews Updated: Jan 20, 2017 18:21 IST
Rashid Irani
There are echoes of The Social Network in this film about how a canny travelling salesman hustled the McDonald brothers out of their own establishment.
There are echoes of The Social Network in this film about how a canny travelling salesman hustled the McDonald brothers out of their own establishment.

THE FOUNDER

Direction: John Lee Hancock

Actors: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman

Rating: 3 / 5

It was a combination of pluck, passion and perseverance that led an unsuccessful milkshake-mixer salesman to transform a humble roadside burger stand into the multibillion-dollar fast-food corporation we now know as McDonald’s.

Working from a script by Robert Siegel, Texan filmmaker John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks) transports us to the mid-1950s to recap the little-known true story of the ruthless dealmaker (Michael Keaton) who hustled the two McDonald brothers (Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch) out of their own establishment.

The Founder effectively indicts unsavoury business ethics, corporate greed and the predatory nature of capitalist enterprise.

The film occasionally loses momentum. It’s certainly no gourmet meal, but it’s worth a drive-through just for Michael Keaton.

It benefits from a stirring storyline and a first-rate ensemble. The dialogue is sprinkled with zingers like the one now familiar from the trailer, where one of the McDonald brothers says in clipped tones, ‘There’s a wolf in the henhouse, and we let him in’.

Lynch and Offerman are impressive, as is Laura Dern’s portrayal of the ‘hamburglar’s’ long-suffering wife. BJ Novak adds an unexpected dimension to his role of the legal eagle who advises the ‘founder’ in his financial wheeler-dealing.

Following Birdman and Spotlight, it is another stellar outing for Michael Keaton. A Best Actor Oscar nomination is almost assured.

The film occasionally loses momentum, especially in its exposition-heavy first half. Overall, The Founder does not amount to a gourmet meal, but it’s worth a drive-through.

Watch the trailer for The Founder here