It’s persistence, not genius nor talent, that actually guarantees success.
We’ve grown attached to the idea that anyone with the right combination of skill and luck can make their fortune. Film’s like ‘The Social Network’ and ‘Steve Jobs’ fascinate with success stories of men who rise from obscurity into legend. 2016’s biopic film ‘The Founder‘ tells a wholly unique tale of a rather ordinary man who without any exceptional talent or genius was able to adapt someone else’s idea into one of the biggest companies on Earth.
Ever-optimistic salesman Ray Kroc (a steely Michael Keaton) spends his time travelling from place to place peddling gadgets and schemes. Discovering a surprisingly successful operation in San Bernardino, California in 1954 would soon turn around his run of bad fortune.
“Do it for you country” becomes his pitch to the quality obsessed brothers Mac and Dick McDonald (Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch) when offering to bring “fast food” to America. So, ignoring the pleas of his long-suffering wife Ethel (Laura Dern), Ray throws their life-savings into this “whatever the costs” endeavor.
Working off a script from ‘The Wrestler’ scribe Robert D. Siegel director John ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ Lee Hancock takes history and, once again, makes it relevant for a modern audience. That hard work and never give up attitude mixed with good ol’ fashioned American ruthlessness can rise ordinary to the extraordinary is a compelling, universally appealing idea.
Keaton fully encapsulates this dreamer be damned salesman. It’s through his flaws and struggles that we’re able to tolerate (even applaud) Ray’s take no prisoners pragmatism. “If I saw a competitor drowning, I’d shove a hose down his throat.”
With assists from Carter Burwell’s charming score and the impressive supporting cast, Michael Keaton’s magnetic performance drives ‘The Founder‘ beyond it’s fairytale premise. It doesn’t redefine cinema, but you won’t leave disappointed.