Sunday, February 26, 2023

The Menu (2022)


Tyler (Nicholas Hoult), a foodie obsessed with celebrity chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes), invites his date Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) to his exclusive restaurant on the private island of Hawthorne after getting his hands on a rare ticket to meet his idol. They are whisked away by yacht and are welcomed coldly by Elsa (Hong Chau), the monotonous but firm maître d. Among the other invited guests are movie stars, food critics as well as a mafia trio, among others. Margot’s presence irks Slowik because she is not Tyler’s designated plus one. Soon enough, the guests are served not just their meals, but also an entire performative routine that everyone starts to find baffling after a while. It doesn’t take long for them to realize that what they have been invited to is not a mere fancy dinner for the rich and famous, but rather an agenda-filled revenge plot that might just serve as their last meal.

Reading the early reviews for this film, I wasn’t really convinced whether I should see it or not, so I didn’t, until the time came for a 12-hour flight and voila, The Menu is on the inflight entertainment menu. It was my third film out of five, I believe, and it was probably the most intriguing and enjoyable watch of that half a day plane ride. The storyline is vague and you are somehow forced to connect the dots on your own, which adds to the mystery and charm of the narrative.

Being averse to food myself, I really don’t have any vested interest in the storyline. The thing about The Menu, though, is that it’s a love it or hate it movie that has servings for everybody. But yes, in the end you’ll end up loving it or hating it. There seems to be no middle ground, even though everyone seems to agree that it is one head scratching and hunger-inducing visual feast. It makes you want to munch on that cheeseburger Margot feasts on in the ending while trying to analyze what the heck you’ve just watched.

More than anything, this film is an ensemble piece, and the actors involved bring their A game to make sure that they end up serving something your palate can savor. Fiennes is cryptically sinister but shows enough hint of vulnerability which keeps you on constant guessing mode while hanging on the edge of your seat trying to prepare yourself for whatever menacing gimmick he has up his sleeve. I wish we could say the same for Hoult, or perhaps the character itself is to blame for being a boring weirdo.

Hong Chau serves her own recipe of sinister with Elsa’s ominously bossy persona giving you a performance to remember, making you question whether she was nominated for the right film at the Oscars. However, it is Taylor-Joy who carries the film because her character somehow serves as the anchor that the audience can rally behind. After all, Margot is the outsider in that group, and she is just as confused as we are trying to figure out what the hell is happening here.

If you haven’t seen the film yet, I suggest that you just hit the play button with an open mind and welcome all the WTF twists and turns with open arms. The beauty of this movie is that it is one of those weird narratives that selects its audience. It should come up with its own cult following in a short while, and you will enjoy the mental provocation that will surely spark debates and discussions long after you have finished watching it. Yes, it is that kind of film, so just prepare to sink your teeth into its juicy screenplay. Savor it. Chew it slowly before you swallow. Digestion will be hard to come by, but it will.

0 creature(s) gave a damn:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Protected by Copyscape DMCA Copyright Detector

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review