The Founder, 2016 – ★★★

Buoyed by Michael Keaton oozing his own mixture of charisma and cynicism and menace, this mixture between a biopic and a Behind the Music story of the origins of McDonald’s, slides between fascinating and trite. Unfortunately it doesn’t really know whether we’re meant to admire Kroc or despise him. Same with the McDonald boys, are they geniuses opposed to success, or rubes destined to be taken advantage of? Laura Dern is sadly wasted in the role of “long suffering wife” and dismissed with similar disdain as Kroc seemed to have for his wife. Like any biopic, it comes alive during “grind it out” montages, but ultimately fails to be more entertaining or informative than Mark Knopfler’s song about Kroc off his Shangri-La album, Boom, Like That. One wishes this had gotten to a director more interested in telling a fractured story than a straightforward one.

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