It is practically impossible to create a biopic without passing judgment on some axis, but director John Lee Hancock comes pretty close to presenting an unbiased view of McDonald’s “founder” Ray Kroc in The Founder. The film details the story of Kroc discovering the original McDonald’s restaurant, the brainchild of brothers Mac and Dick, and expanding the McDonald’s empire through an aggressive franchise model. As McDonald’s restaurants pop up everywhere, Mac and Dick lose control of the endeavor, and Kroc eventually muscles the two away from the business.
Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight opens with a quick vignette at a Boston police station. Using subtle camera movements and specific acting choices, the subject of the scene becomes clear: a young boy has been molested by a local priest. A green policeman doesn’t seem to understand the protocols, but he watches as the strings get pulled and the wheels get greased, and the offending priest gets whisked away from the police station without consequence. This serves as a preamble to the harrowing story we are about to witness: the rampant sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, and its systemic cover-up by the Church.