A couple (Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult) travels to a coastal island to eat at an exclusive restaurant where the chef (Ralph Fiennes) has prepared a lavish menu, with some shocking surprises. Directed by Mark Mylod, The Menu serves a deliciously dark comedy that is elevated by sharp social commentary and a brilliant ensemble cast. At its best, The Menu offers an impressive mix of culinary intrigue, horror imagery, and hilarious moments all wrapped in a well-paced 106-minute-long feature — read on for our movie review.
dining movie review of The Menu
Narratively, The Menu isn’t interested in fleshing out its characters nor is it trying to create any sort of worldbuilding. Instead, it is the film’s contempt for arrogance and entitlement that makes it such a refreshing and satisfying feature. By weaving thought-provoking themes into its narrative, the satirical film holds up a mirror to society’s superficial and pretentious consumption of art.
Even though the film provides a piercing commentary on materialistic tendencies, it never compromises on its identity as a comedy, delivering a highly entertaining and hysterical experience that is as hilarious as it is disturbing.
Commanding an impressive ensemble, Ralph Fiennes soars as he plays a mad genius of a chef whose meal for the dining elite turns fatal. Without resorting to horror tropes and exaggerated enthusiasm, Fiennes delivers one of the most captivating performances of the year. With its razor-sharp script, The Menu makes brilliant use of its tremendous cast. To say more about it would spoil the fun but keep an eye out on Anya Taylor-Joy and Hong Chau.
With an impressive blend that consists of enthralling violence, comedy, and artful staging, the dark horror comedy delivers an expertly crafted plot that utilises satire to take on elitism within the context of luxury dining. The Menu is the kind of theatrical experience that we could use more of on the big screen. Never a dull moment, The Menu is a captivating thriller that will have audiences on the edge of their seat as the story unfolds.
The Menu opened in cinemas on November 17 2022.
(All images: Eric Zachanowich/ Searchlight Pictures/ 2022 20th Century Studios)