The Founder (12A)
Verdict: A quarter-pounder of a movie
The title of this enjoyable and enlightening film is deliberately ironic.
The Founder is about Ray Kroc, who in the early Fifties was a failing milkshake-machine salesman when he first set eyes on a Californian hamburger restaurant, founded by an amiable pair of brothers called McDonald.
When Kroc (nicely played by Michael Keaton) saw how meticulously and successfully the McDonald brothers (John Carroll Lynch and Nick Offerman) operated their fast-food joint, he realised that it had to become a franchise.
At first, the brothers warmed to his sense of enterprise.
But soon, they were first alienated, and then quite literally disenfranchised, by his uncompromising pursuit of profit. His American Dream, and theirs, were incompatible.
So this is the story of how the global McDonalds empire grew from a single outlet, and director John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, Saving Mr Banks) tells it compellingly.
Keaton is particularly well cast, since he’s easy to root for at the start of the film, for his energy, perseverance and vision, and just as easy to loathe by the time he has made mincemeat of the McDonald brothers.
Still, at least it was their name he made world-famous, and not his. Otherwise, the planet would be full of children clamouring to go for a Kroc.