If there’s one American writer/director I feel sorry for, it’s M. Night Shyamalan, despite not being his most vocal supporter in the past. He’s a man who has been daring and adventurous with his projects, but like others greats such as Stephen King, his concept-fueled works often bear interesting setups that are handicapped by disappointing payoffs. With 2015’s The Visit, he essentially showed that he does have a keen ability not only in merging genres, but toying with them, and successfully delivered, what I felt to be, one of his most prized works.
Since The Wolf of Wall Street a few years ago, there have been an abundance of films about chronicling the vicious, cut-throat pursuit of the American Dream by many different individuals. Last year, War Dogs proved to be the staple of what I call the “neo crime-drama” genre with its emphasis on violence, grit, and sardonic humor, but even before that, we had Spring Breakers and Pain & Gain to hold us over. With The Founder, however, it gets even more personal. This time, it goes after a staple of American culture and one of the biggest global brands in the world; a place I’m sure most of us have eaten at fairly recently.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you don’t work on something for an upwards of thirty years and not find something about it that’s either revealing for your personally, a great thesis of your life and work, or some combination of both or maybe more. Martin Scorsese’s Silence feels like one of the most personal statements the seventy-four-year-old director has yet to make in his long, storied career, as it’s one that addresses faith, guilt, and righteousness, all themes which have been explored in most of his films.