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Laura Blum

Laura is a festival correspondent covering films and the festival circuit for She also publishes on Thalo



DP John Schwartzman Shoots “The Founder”


Textured, bittersweet and laced with irony, John Lee Hancock’s unvarnished chronicle of the Ray Kroc legend is hardly a hagiography. But its very ambivalence about the McDonald’s brand builder gives The Founder ethical shadings that lift it beyond facile biopic and into the realm of nuanced morality tale. Sly visual choices by cinematographer John Schwartzman further ensure that no tidy judgment is served up in this real-life tale. 

Whether you find it appetizing may depend on your threshold for contradictory characters. Michael Keaton, who plays Kroc, brings his own love-hate response to the role of visionary yet duplicitous entrepreneur. Right off the bat, the middle-aged striver dismantles the fourth wall and smooth-talks you head on. “Let’s have him pitch to the audience,” Schwartzman recalled telling Hancock, per the DP’s remarks: