The Menu (Nov. 2022)
Ralph Fiennes (Skyfall, Official Secrets, Harry Potter franchise) plays a weird celebrity Chef Julian Slowik who owned and operated an exclusive restaurant located on a private island. A couple played by Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult, along with other invited guests, arrive on the island to savour Slowik’s lavishly prepared dinner experience.
This movie is well written. I like how it connects details of culinary arts with the story it tells and as interpreted through the mindset of key characters. The visuals are as inviting as the concept while the dialogue works beautifully as well. Good humor in the mix.
It is intriguing and honestly suspenseful, has a light-hearted premise, yet creepy and ominous. You easily get the feeling that this dinner experience is unlike anything the guests have experienced.
When events start to unravel, the horror elements come into play even as its satirical execution contributes to the story’s milder and less scary outcome.
Surely this has enough to hold one spellbound for most of the runtime.
Now I understand that the movie has some ridiculous takes, at times with upsetting, unrealistic decisions in its build-up. You have to remember this is a movie that doesn’t want to take itself too seriously (being partly dark-comedy) and at the same time wants to deliver an unsettling, bizarre atmosphere (horror thriller).
The issue for me was that while the movie kicks off on a really high note, raises the bar in terms of its unusual concept and smart build-up of suspense, in the end it never really arrives. It is quite anticlimactic, easy and couldn’t come together to finish off on a thrilling note one would expect from such a clever outfit.
I like movies with unusual concept and that’s mainly the reason this works for me, to an extent. In the end it’s a menu that needs more cooking though it is well acted, beautiful in set design/visuals and follows a suspenseful process.
Definitely not the type everyone will find satisfying but those familiar with dark humor movies like “Ready or Not” and “The Hunt” should find this easier to digest.
Critic_orb’s rating: Good 65%