The Menu (\N)

A young couple travel to a remote island to eat at an exclusive restaurant where the chef has prepared a lavish menu, with some shocking surprises.
  • 7.2 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2019-02-14 Added:
  • Seth Reiss, Will Tracy, Writer:
  • Alexander Payne, Director:
  • Will Ferrell, Betsy Koch, Adam McKay, Producer:

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Trailer:

8 / 10

A completely bonkers and over-the-top, yet perhaps brilliant satire

This is a movie that plays on something everyone has come across in their lives: obsession. The movie starts out as a seemingly eerie thriller/suspense type movie with weird and unique quirks, but slowly devolves into something much more wild and very obviously takes it too far. With a script tighter than the meticulously crafted Chef's menu, even the most curmudgeon movie-goer will have their plates full with this one.

I won't spoil anything with a synopsis, but rather try to intrigue anyone on the fence about seeing this movie.

The Menu has something fresh and interesting to say about the tired conversation surrounding the marriage between art and artist. There are some very clearly illogical and confusing elements of the plot that you can easily miss if you're taking it at face value.

Overall, this movie isn't meant to be a sensible, coherent and satisfying thriller. Instead, it's a comment on a poignant phenomenon in our society: the way we view, consume, pursue, and ultimately obsess over those who produce the art around us. Sure, the movie is about a chef and his meticulous menu, but in reality the larger point is about the production of any type of art, namely filmmaking.

It seems to me that the filmmaker is making a very focused point about the state of movies nowadays. There seems to be a constant theme throughout about how often artist and their fans seem so detached from each other, even though their mutual approval of the art should be enough to bring them together.

An absolutely bonkers second act and a considerably more bonkers third act wrap up what I believe to be a masterpiece commentary on the state of filmmaking in 2022. The only moneymakers are massive superhero movies, massive studio A++ list celebrity movies, etc, and the makers of this film ask one simple question:

How long until we collectively call out their BS and ask for some simple bread?

The movie makes you question how far you'd go into "buying into the hype", and conversely has a quite shocking commentary on those who consistently stay away from "the hype" without buying into it. Think of some of the ridiculous fashion trends that some of the highest brands in clothing perpetuate, and just how many people will blindly follow simply because there is an LV or GG stamp on it.

It's no shock to me that a script with this kind of tonal shifting comes to us from the writers/directors of Succession. So much of the way this film is crafted reminds me of the show. Sharp wit, sarcasm that lies somewhere between funny and cringeworthy, twists, turns, and of course, the oh-so subtle thumbing of the nose at all the socially accepted, yet fundamentally insane reverence for brilliance that we hold dear.

As a movie-lover, this was one of the more thought provoking pieces of the year. This movie makes you wonder what the line is between brilliant artist and insane psycho. The movie makes you look around and find yourself in the all the characters; the artist, the art, and those who are (literally) consuming it.

All in all, this movie is an insightful parody of the state of not only the word of fine dining, but also fashion, art, filmmaking, music, etc. I might have a completely wrong reading of this movie, but hey, that's what art's about, right?

8 / 10

One of the most unique theater going experiences I've had in a long time

This film was something else, I am genuinely stumped and at a loss for words. Mark Mylod (Director) Seth Reiss (Writer) and Will Tracey (Writer) all deserve a round of applause. They all together created something so unique.

What set this film apart from other thriller, horrors are great performances and great writing. Every character here is well done and intelligently written. The entire cast gives great performances with Ralph Fiennes and Anya Taylor-Joy truly being the standouts as they playoff each other very well.

Each character purposely reflected a personality type that if you ever worked in service you would encounter and come to know very well. To my fellow service employees you know what I'm talking about.

What really stuck with me long after the credits have rolled is the commentary this film has on society. At it's core I believe this film to be about a Chef who's long career facing multitudes of people both customers and critics has affected his passion for his art. It's here where I also believe to be the film makers commentary on what it is to be an artist in this films case a Chef. It felt to me what the film makers are saying is as artists they pour their heart and souls into their art and craft both to serve and entertain us and as consumers it's very easy to lose appreciation for that hard work and effort.

But I digress, perhaps I'm over thinking things and this film is not very deep as I seem to believe it is. Nonetheless this film was quite unique, thrilling, and entertaining. It's films like these that remind me of why I go to the theater and why I fell in love with storytelling and cinema.

IMDb: 8/10Letterboxd: 4/5

Watched in Theaters.

8 / 10

A very tasty treat indeed!

The Menu is a real treat. It will have you laughing while on the edge of your seat as it navigates you through a restaurant experience to remember.

We are treated to a fantastic ensemble cast. Nicholas Hoult steals the show with a pitch perfect performance of a pretentious foodie. Fiennes is so wonderfully unhinged as the mysterious creator of the eponymous menu in a very layered role. Anya Taylor Joy as always is so watchable, providing such an easy way in for the audience. The writing gives them all such brilliant material which the whole cast executes with ease.

The style and staging of the piece can't be faulted at all. It is precise, inventive, and so clean and polished which makes for a very visually appealing film.

It must be said there are a few rough edges when it comes to the plot, and when you get down to the nuts and bolts the premise isn't necessarily groundbreaking. It is very on the nose at times and subtlety isn't exactly it's strong suit. However it manages to strike a well tuned balance between satire, comedy, and thriller which isn't an easy feat and is impressively managed here.

With its sharp social observations and satire, clean style, and stellar performances, the Menu is a feast that you won't want to end.

8 / 10

Great satire

The Menu isn't the first to satirise the rich and their incompetence and isn't saying anything new but that definitely doesn't prevent it from being a great satire that pokes fun at everything it can in ways that are often consistently funny, playful and extremely stylish.

Ralph Fiennes gives a terrific performance full of awkward unease that only enhances his commanding screen presence. Anya Taylor-Joy is a perfect audience surrogate amongst a sea of deliberately unlikeable characters of which the best is Nicholas Hoult whose almost too good at making his character hilariously pathetic.

Mark Mylod's direction is excellent, the film has more than enough visual style to match the pretentiousness of its characters and is really good at building tension. The music by Colin Stetson is fantastic, striking a unusual balance between beautiful and unnerving.

6 / 10

Original, but ultimately unsatisfying fare.

I waited months for this film thinking it would be so much better than it was. There is nothing quite like the let down of expecting something great, and it turning out to be mediocre at best.

While the plot is pretty original (which normally scores high points with me) and while the film is at times quite beautiful to look at, it altogether missed the main point of a good meal: gratification.

Scares are not included on the menu; comedic value is barely there; it is unsatisfyingly light on gore; hints of interesting dialogue exist, but they are scantily peppered throughout; the characters as well as their backstories, are as distinctly unpalatable, as are their intentions nondescript; it wore on and became progressively less, instead of more enjoyable; and the main course was both 'cheesy' and less than fulfilling. By the time dessert was to be served, the previous dishes laid still undigested and leaden.

I'd like to speak to the manager, please.