The Menu (2022)

The Menu (2022)

Movie Details

Movie: The Menu (2022)
Director: Mark Mylod
Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult
Genres: Horror/Comedy
Release date: 18 November 2022
IMDB Rating: 7.2/10
Language: English and Spanish
Duration: 1h 46m


The Menu (2022)


Director Mark Mylod has spent the last decade working for television, and not just any of them – the series Game of Thrones has received great fan popularity. However, in these cases, Mylod figured as one of several directors, not as the creative brain behind the entire project. This is unfortunately also evident in the tempting-looking genre mix called Menu, which can rely on several interesting ideas and a capable acting ensemble, but the result noticeably lacks a truly overarching idea.

At the beginning of a simple story structure, we meet a group of roughly ten snobs who expect the pinnacle of gourmet art. They board a ship that is supposed to bring them to an island where there is a luxury restaurant and at the same time a self-sufficient ecosystem, whose caretakers efficiently grow crops and raise animals, from which they subsequently prepare the most delicate dishes. At the head of this enterprise is a native of Bratislava, Slowik (once again the demonic Ralph Fiennes), who has created a community of ambitious but completely devoted chefs on the island.

A diverse mix of guests enters the disturbingly machine-like environment. Enchanted by the world of gastronomy, the flutist Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) brings with him his new girlfriend Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy), who does not have much understanding of the debauched arrogance of the whole event John Leguizamo plays a movie star at his zenith, Janet McTeer an uncompromising food critic, both come with an entourage. The group is completed by an elderly married couple and a trio of corporate heyboys. It’s not for nothing that none of the participants, except the measured Margot, seem likable, and the viewer immediately begins to wonder what the individual figures embody.

The perfectionist Slowik presents each course with a felt speech, from which a certain social appeal always flashes – as if Slowik despised the honored guests and partly even himself. At various moments, comparisons are offered with thematically similar films such as Velká žranice, and the recent Flux Gourmet by Peter Strickland. Together with screenwriters Seth Reiss and Will Tracy, who are making their film debut, Mylod might like to create an uncompromising social satire on consumer society or show the breakdown of values ​​in a closed space, but it certainly does not reach the genius of Buñuel’s The Exterminating Angel.

Over time, the screws are tightened, and bizarre and terrifying events are layered, but the 108-minute-long film spends a lot of time trudging along and tries to stumble to some exciting point, which, unfortunately, it doesn’t have in reserve. It is quite clear from the beginning that the core of the film is a satirical critique of class differences and especially the conceit of the prominent classes who overlook those below them. Towards the end, the film does offer a certain possibility of redemption for those who have risen higher in the social pecking order than they would like, but that is, unfortunately, a bit little.

However, despite this fundamental flaw, the picture looks very good. Ironic shots of individual courses modeled on a culinary reality show rhythm the narration, the camera of the experienced Peter Deming helps to shape a claustrophobically confined space, and the resulting impression is enhanced by the prickly string music from the pen of Colin Stetson. In addition, the film switches between black comedy, satirical parable, and brazenly self-aware horror, which sounds better than the result itself. The latter is closer to pop culture gluttony based on the quantity of pretentious themes and cool moments than to a carefully baked delicacy consisting only of quality ingredients.

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