Thursday, November 17, 2022

Be Careful When You Order Off The Menu

Taking a few good-natured jabs at foodie culture and the cult-like culture inside a chef's kitchen, The Menu offers us a look into an exclusive dining experience in a dark comedy that may not always work as well as intended but is so damn bizarre it's certainly not easily forgettable. Anya Taylor-Joy stars as the last-minute replacement date for molecular gastronomy nerd Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) for a dining experience so exclusive it has its own island.

While Margot (Taylor-Joy) is a bit out of her element, the rest of the clientele fall into broad categories of your expected entitled guests with too much time and money on their hands. Running the kitchen is the obsessive celebrity chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) who has planned a memorable menu for this special event which will change the lives of everyone invited.

It takes a little longer than expected for things to turn dark, as once it does the tone shifts irrevocably into the horror genre, but there are certainly suggestive elements in the opening act that there is more going on than just the serving of high-price cuisine. The script by is also notable for its sly humor such as in the announcements of each course and the growing discomfort of the guests as they slowly realize what they've gotten themselves into. How easily you can buy into the situation, and the complicity of all involved, will certainly affect you enjoyment of the film, and I'll freely admit to having some issues with the script in this regard.

Rounding out the cast are Janet McTeer, Paul Adelstein, John Leguizamo, Aimee Carrero, Reed Birney, Judith Light, Rob Yang, Arturo Castro, Mark St. Cyr as other diners and Peter Grosz, Hong Chau, Christina Brucato, and Adam Aalderks as the the kitchen staff given the most screentime. While what's served up by director Mark Mylod won't likely be the best meal you've had in a theater recently, The Menu does deliver on its promise of an unique experience playing on class themes, entitlement, obsession, and the pomposity of a self-indulgent subculture that finds itself served on a sliver platter for the audience.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: The Menu
  • IMDb: link

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