Michael Keaton is The Man!
A traveling milkshake machine salesman - Ray Kroc – has had no sale and is about to give up on everything, when his curiosity takes him to California. Who wants not one but eight machines? He is a dealmaker, a hustler and sees huge potential in what he discovers there! McDonald’s! His vision pushed the two brothers into partnership, and slowly but surely Kroc takes over and creates McDonalds Corporation. Michael Keaton just dazzles in his role as Ray Croc, and even when you realise he is a crook, you cannot but admire him! A true story brilliantly told.
Michael Keaton shows up as a traveling salesman who listens to motivational records in order to continue in his thankless job. When his secretary (played with a straight face by Kate Kneeland) informs him that someone wants six machines he actually calls them. The McDonalds brothers run a small restaurant and they need not just six, but eight milkshake machines. Curious, he travels across the continent to California and discovers a super new concept: food wrapped in paper, delivered within seconds of placing order, and tasty! No endless wait, wrong order and overworked staff at drive-ins!
Kroc’s enterprising head can foresee great things for this superb little restaurant idea. As Dick McDonald complains: We let a wolf in the henhouse! You know that as audience you ought to hate the man’s guts. He dares to take someone else’s business and slowly but surely owns it. But you smile and gawp at the screen at the sheer chutzpah of the man, who preaches the need for fast food all over America, creating the story of the Golden Arches we all know and love so well.
It is a story of American enterprise that is at once appalling in its high-handedness as well as admirable in its audacity. The more the McDonald brothers stop Kroc from expanding, the more loopholes he finds in the original contract and does exactly what he thinks is right for the business.
He is so involved in this great idea of creating a family food chain, that he has nothing more in common with his country club wife (a rather underwhelming role for the brilliant Laura Dern) who does not understand why he needs to socialize with people she thinks are ‘common’ folk. But then there’s no stopping Ray Kroc.
Michael Keaton is simply superb. He shows what a great salesman he is, doesn’t he? He talks his way into our heads and hearts as well, because you almost applaud his madness, his persistence. You will love every dialog in the movie and find yourself nodding in agreement: Contracts are like hearts, they’re made to be broken.
(this review appears on nowrunning dot com)