The Founder: Looking at the rise of the golden arches

An insider’s look at the man behind McDonald’s and his swerving path to success

Starbucks, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s—have you ever wondered how these franchises made it to the top? How rich people made their money?

In The Founder, director John Lee Hancock looks at how McDonald’s became the worldwide phenomenon it is today, through the story of Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton). He is the man who was instrumental in building the hamburger empire.

The film, based on Kroc’s memoir, Grinding it Out, was written by Robert Siegel, and gives insider information about the making of one of the most successful companies the world has ever seen.

Keaton portrays Kroc in a sophisticated, yet honest manner—after all, the man was incredibly flawed. Kroc is an individual whose shortcomings are evident in his actions: he simply wouldn’t take no for an answer. His firm character became infamous and shattered his business partnerships. He was the type of man you would trust with your finances, but wouldn’t trust as a friend.

In some aspects, he was even more detestable than The Wolf of Wall Street’s Jordan Belfort. Kroc didn’t do drugs or host impressive parties. Rather, he had an incredible lack of empathy—more harmful than any addiction could have been. Though his morality was questionable, his enduring motivation can seem inspiring to anyone going through hardship.

The strength of the movie lies in its sense of realism. There are no antagonists or protagonists, just events that unfold and characters who react. The story of the creation of fast-food is fascinating—it has become omnipresent, and the film gives us a voyeuristic look at how it became so entrenched.

The Founder is a captivating film that portrays one of the most important business models in history. It tells the story as it is, including the backstabbing, the questionable business deals and the blurring of ethical lines.

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