Michael Keaton is flat out great as Ray Kroc, the sorta-kinda founder of McDonald’s.
Director John Lee Hancock’s film tells the story from when Kroc was selling milk shake mixers door-to-door, up to his wife stealing days as the head of the McDonald’s corporation. Hancock’s movie desperately wants you to like Kroc, but maybe we shouldn’t?
After all, he swept in and took the name of McDonald’s from the McDonald brothers (Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch), effectively cutting them out of most profits and leaving them in his dust. The film is at its best when it is in old time, Americana mode. It’s a beautiful looking movie that captures the essence of those old timey fast food joints that replaced the traditional Drive-In diners.
The movie slows down a bit and gets a little muddled when it tries to depict Kroc as some sort of commerce hero. I suppose if they went into details about how his co-creating McDonald’s has contributed to worldwide obesity and environmental concerns, McDonald’s themselves would’ve mounted up the lawyers and put the kibosh on the whole thing.
Offerman is great as the well-meaning, high standards McDonald brother that regrets the day he met Kroc. Keaton gets high marks for a film that is ultimately uneven.