Saturday, March 10, 2018
A Month at the Movies #10: The Founder
Many movies start with an unsympathetic character who slowly becomes somebody you can identify with, but films about successful businessmen always go in the other direction. You're always rooting for the plucky little guy at the start, just trying to catch a break, and all the sympathy drains away as they become dead-eyed and greedy.
The Founder certainly fits that mold, with Michael Keaton struggling to sell his shitty milkshake machines before crossing paths with the McDonald brothers, and going on to create the world-wide behemoth of a fast-food corporation seen today. It's easy to share his frustration at all the impediments on his road to success in the early stages, but by the end he's stealing the wife of a business partner and making handshake deals he knows he's never going to fulfill, and who gives a damn about that guy?
The longer the film goes on, the more sympathy there is for the McDonald brothers, who have things like personal ethics and a pride in their work. There may be a great movie to be made purely from their perspective, especially when they're played by the brilliant John Carroll Lynch and Nick Offerman, like they are here, but they're just a side-note in this story of a decent man turning into another corporate dickhead.