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The Founder (2017)

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The Founder is one of the most frustrating movies I've seen in quite some time. All the ingredients seem to be here for a masterpiece. The cast is fantastic and the script is surprisingly engaging for the cliche biopic this appears to be on first glance. Kroc's huckster qualities and shrewd business dealings make this a fascinating treatise on capitalism and what it means to follow the American dream.

 

That's why it's so crushing that Hancock is the director. He clearly does not know what the proper tone should be for this material, and his sheer workmanlike direction robs the film from the style it rightfully deserves. Worse than the style stolen though, is the removal of any subtlety. The camera lingers on overt foreshadowing and the editing relies on banal crosscutting far too often. It's a testament to Keaton's abilities as an actor that he still delivers a phenomenally magnetic performance as Kroc despite the rest of the film around lacking identity or agency thanks to the mediocre direction. Burwell's score is also misdirected, adding way too much whimsy and making emotional undercurrents super obvious.

 

Thanks to a strong cast and a script that shines through the mucky direction, The Founder is still worth watching. However, the crushing disappointment comes from realizing how much more it could be. It's the cinematic equivalent of ordering a cheeseburger with everything on it, but then the cheese being forgotten. It might still taste good at points, but ultimately, the loss of the most appetizing ingredient makes it a slog to get through. A very sad turn-out for this intriguing project. B-

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I mentioned The Founder at McDonalds orientation. I got my McGriddle very quickly just a few hours before. Like in the movie.

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