It’s the story of the American Dream.
Ray Kroc, a struggling Midwestern salesman in the 1950s, meets the MacDonald brothers in southern California when he gets wind of the extremely busy restaurant they are running, emphasizing speed and control. It’s a smash hit, and Ray wants in, and wants to sell the brothers on the idea of franchising. Fast forward a few decades and they are all filthy rich and everyone is happy, right? Well, it’s not quite that simple.
Siegel (The Wrestler, Big Fan) has penned something special here, taking what could have been an average documentary and delivering a powerful biopic that examines the human cost of doing business, as well as plumbing the depths of the story of America’s biggest franchise and one of the world’s largest landholders. It’s a movie populated by some great actors, including Michael Keaton in another electric performance, bringing a wonderfully sleazy-yet-watchable energy to Kroc. It’s another in a line of very strong performances from Keaton over the last several years. With Nick Offerman and John Carrol Lynch as the MacDonald brothers, the former being the no-nonsense hardass and the latter being the sweet, gentle dreamer, the casting is absolutely perfect here.
The film seeks to ask what you would do to get ahead, and if you’re ruthless enough to answer “anything,” is the reward worth the cost? Fortune favors the bold, and history remembers the winners, so maybe there is only one real answer to that question…
Available on Netflix.