The Founder (2016)
Director: John Lee Hancock
Starring: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Linda Cardellini, Patrick Wilson, B.J. Novak & Laura Dern
Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Reviewed by Mike Kenny
Based on the true story, The Founder charts the grassroots rise and eventual worldwide presence of the McDonald’s corporation. Starring Michael Keaton (Spotlight) as struggling milkshake maker salesman Ray Kroc during America’s golden 50s, the discovery of a tiny yet, revolutionary fast-making burger eatery in Souther California sparks the wick of inspiration in the persistent businessman who sees nothing but endless possibilities. Impressed by the operation and wooing its owners, Mac and Dick McDonald (Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation and John Carroll Lynch, Channel Zero respectively), with fast talk of franchising, Kroc storms the midwest with undeniable success before desires of growing the McDonald’s brand become much more profound. Robbed of an Academy Award nomination for his performance, Michael Keaton, although in excellent company with a stable of talent consisting of Laura Dern (Jurassic Park), Linda Cardellini (Freaks and Geeks) and Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring), singlehandedly commands the picture with restless energy and a mixture of ambition and underhanded practices that make his character bursting with depth and relatable flaws. Looking beyond what the McDonald’s brothers envisioned while constantly being constrained by contractual terms, Kroc leverages his placement within the company by seedily taking credit for its creation before maneuvering a bonafide takeover. A vastly intriguing character study that reveals its warts and all perhaps more so than Hancock’s charmingly saccharine Saving Mr. Banks, The Founder pulls no punches in detailing McDonald’s fascinating origin, littered with humor, mistrust and greed that could only be made and served in America.
Anchor Bay Entertainment presents The Founder with a 1080p transfer, sporting a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Digitally composed with strong detail observed in Keaton’s facial features that reveal aging lines and rosy makeup choices in its female performers, the gorgeous vistas and greenery spotted along Route 66 are also prominently relayed. In addition, the neon signage illuminating from the film’s many McDonald’s exteriors and their spotless kitchens pop most effectively with black levels observed during nighttime sequences and blacktop lots registering deeply. Accompanied by a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, dialogue is crisply handled without a hiccup observed while, more frantic activity during kitchen sequences provide more notable atmospherics. Special features include, a Behind the Scenes Gallery consisting of the following several featurettes, The Story Behind the Story (4:32), Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc (3:08), The McDonald’s Brothers (4:01), The Production Design (7:06) and Building McDonald’s: Time Lapse Video (1:21). Furthermore, a Press Conference with Filmmakers and Cast (37:44) recorded in Los Angeles on January 12, 2017 closes out the on-disc extras while, a DVD edition and Digital HD Code are also provided. An exemplary effort chronicling the advancements of one of the world’s most thriving fast food chains that deliberately challenged the values of its originators, The Founder is a sharply constructed feature with yet another fascinating performance from Keaton that unfortunately went vastly under seen. Served with a side order of mediocre supplements, Anchor Bay Entertainment’s high-definition presentation honors the film’s period setting with picturesque quality, making this trip to the golden arches as narratively revealing as it is visually pleasing.
Available April 18th from Anchor Bay Entertainment, The Founder can be purchased via Amazon.com and other fine retailers.