Film Review: “The Menu”

 

 

  • THE MENU
  • Starring:  Ralph Fiennes, Nicolas Hoult and Anna Taylor-Joy
  • Directed by:  Mark Mylod
  • Rated:  R
  • Running time:  1 hr 46 mins
  • Searchlight Pictures

 

I must admit before I continue that I do not consider myself a “foodie.”  If you know me you know I enjoy eating but I’ve never understood the high price restaurants that serve tiny portions on tiny plates made up of things I’ve never heard of.  One example in my lifetime:  I went to Washington D.C. to conduct an interview for my book on “Jaws 2,” offering to take the couple I was speaking with to dinner near my hotel.  While I was thinking something casual, like Houlihan’s or a similar establishment they gave me the name of a little place a block away from where I was staying.  The company, and the conversation, was amazing.  The food was…meh.  $260 later, after we said our goodbyes, I stopped at Subway on my way back to my hotel. 

 

Tyler (Hoult) is excitedly pacing back on forth on a dock.  He explains to Margot (Taylor-Joy) that he has been waiting seemingly forever for this night to come.  A night on an isolated island tasting food created by the most famous chef on the planet, Chef Slowick (Fiennes).  As they board the boat neither Tyler, no the other guests, can contemplate what will be on the menu.

 

 

A film that is both dark and funny, “The Menu” benefits from the combination of a smartly written script and some excellent performances.  If you’ve ever watched a reality cooking show, you know that the chef’s featured often have an overstated sense of importance.  That is true here with Chef Slowick, whose single clap of a hand can bring his entire kitchen staff to attention.  Fiennes is perfect in this role, going from stern taskmaster to sarcastic joker seamlessly.  The guest list is quite eclectic, with everyone from a well known food critic (Janet McTeer) to a once famous actor (John Leguizamo) who now tells people his career is in “the presenter phase.”  Each “course” is presented as a great surprise, though not all of the surprises are good ones.

 

The film is beautifully shot, with each course its own individual piece of art.  I may never eat pickled cucumber balls or slurp down some fancy oysters but they certainly do look good.  So does this film.

4

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