He took someone else’s idea and America ate it up.
Michael Keaton is queasily hypnotic as the slippery protagonist of The Founder, a canny biopic about the founding of McDonald’s, which shows how a struggling milkshake machine salesman turned a single burger restaurant in California into a global fast-food empire.
His name? Ray Kroc. The actual McDonalds were a pair of brothers, Mac and Dick, whose innovative eatery in San Bernardino, California, so impressed the entrepreneurial Kroc when he came upon it in 1954 that he resolved to get in on the act.
Director John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, Saving Mr Banks) gives plenty of entertaining zip to the tale that subsequently unfolds, showing how, with a mix of tenacity and sharp practice, Kroc hustles and bluffs his way both to expanding the business and taking it over. As played by Keaton, Kroc leaves us both aghast and admiring, appalled by his deviousness but just a little in awe of his dogged persistence. Spare a thought, though, for John Carroll Lynch and Nick Offerman’s McDonald brothers, the poor saps he bulldozed and bamboozled on his way to success.
Certificate 12. Runtime 115 mins. Director John Lee Hancock
Available on Blu-ray & DVD from 12 June.