If you live in the western world and are over the age of about 3, you know the ‘golden arches’. You know what they are and you know what they mean.
McDonalds. Or as we say in Australia……. Maccas
But have you ever wondered how there came to be a McDonalds every few kilometres or so? Read on …
Way back in the 1940’s, two brothers Dick (Offerman) and Mac (Lynch) opened a small burger restaurant. After many hits and misses, they finally stumbled onto a formula, a way of working and thinking that would quite literally, change the world. This story in itself, told to Ray Kroc (Keaton) by the McDonalds brothers early on in the movie is worth the ticket price alone.
What we now take for granted was such a novel idea, showed so much forward thinking and such mental dexterity that it is astounding. That they remained true to their vision and their values will, later in the movie, have you thinking back to these earlier moments and perhaps make you a little sad.
For the tale of the McDonalds brothers does not end the way it should.
Ray Kroc is an entrepreneurial type. A bit of a down on his luck door-to-door salesman, always on the lookout for the next big thing. A fast talker but without the real wherewithal or chutzpah to truly make something of himself. He is a bit pathetic if I am perfectly honest.
When he meets the McDonalds brothers, he is a milkshake machine salesman and when they order 6 of his machines, he is so intrigued he travels across the country to investigate. They all go out for dinner, the brothers share their story and as Ray’s mind kicks into overdrive, a legend and a marketing behemoth will be born.
This whole story is fascinating. The director has captured perfectly a moment in time before the modern, inter-connected, fast-food worshiping world was truly upon us. The story is told seamlessly and with enough feeling that you empathise with the some characters but enough corporate intrigue that you almost want to boo and hiss at the screen.
The story of McDonalds is the stuff of dreams…….. if you are prepared to do whatever it takes. The whole thing left a bitter taste in my mouth and I thought and pondered on it for many days. One thing I cannot help is to admire those with the vision to see the future and grab it with both hands.
The very fact that I can still recall my first Big Mac (McDonalds at Broadmeadow, NSW when I was 8 years old) and that, I dare say, every person in the western world can identify the golden arches with ease is a testament to the drive and dreams of a few men way back when.
4 1/2 stars
If it's on in Newcastle, it's on Newcastle Live