The Menu (2022): A darkly humorous exploration of class tension and culinary obsession in an exclusive setting. Director Mark Mylod, best known for his work on TV shows such as Shameless, Game of Thrones and The Heirs (for which he received an Emmy Award nomination), returns to action with The Menu. A young couple, along with a bunch of other people from the elite society, go to a famous chef in a restaurant located on a separate island.
I have been waiting for this film since the first advertising poster appeared, because I really love movies about chefs and cuisine. The film is positioned as a horror and thriller, but there is nothing terrible in this film, even despite the R rating (adults only).
Ralph Fiennes is amazing as the antagonist. Not Voldemort, of course, but not bad either. Even Anya Taylor Joy played very cool, although I treat her absolutely cool.
As well as with the “Triangle of Sorrow” I can say that not everyone will like it. I would even say that people will be divided into two camps: those who really liked it and those who will be perplexed on what they spent their time on. I will classify myself as the first, but I will say that there is no plot development of the actors, and the ending is over.
PS I want to add phrases that I remember in the film to the reviews, so I’ll start with this review.
“Even your hot is cold. Your only purpose is to cook food that people will like. But you didn’t handle it, Chief. And worst of all, I’m still hungry.”
Hawthorn is a highly sought after and exclusive restaurant requiring advance reservations and a significant cost of $1,250 per person. The restaurant featured in the film The Menu is located on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest, run by a renowned and strict chef, played by Ralph Fiennes. The Menu changes seasonally and is tailored to the chef’s preferences and local ingredients. The restaurant can accommodate only a small number of guests and prohibits both the use of mobile phones and visiting this place alone.
The Menu is a vengeful dark comedy that explores class issues and is aimed at wealthy people who can afford to dine at the exclusive Hawthorn Restaurant. The film delights in exposing the flaws and humiliations of these self-absorbed and contemptible characters. While it may not provide a deep understanding of social issues, it does provide an engaging viewing experience.
The film tells the story of Tyler (played by Nicholas Hoult), an unbearable food connoisseur, and his mysterious companion Margot (played by the beautiful Anya Taylor-Joy), about their high meal at the exclusive Hawthorn Restaurant. They join a group of 12 other guests (names and surnames, which I will no longer write), including the actor and his assistant; a food-crazed critic and her editor; a rich couple and a group of arrogant tech entrepreneurs who are also investors in the restaurant. Along with these characters, there is another mysterious guest whose identity will not be revealed here.
The Menu quickly but smoothly introduces each character, providing enough information to understand their personalities. All characters except Margo share a common reality of wealth, privilege, and access. When we first meet Tyler and Margot, Tyler scolds Margot for smoking cigarettes, claiming it will destroy her taste buds. Margo, however, is unimpressed and finds Tyler’s fascination with expensive culinary delights amusing.
When the group arrives on a remote island, they are greeted by Elsa (played by Hong Chau), the low-key leader of the chef’s team and his closest confidant. Elsa gives them a tour of the island, starting at the coast and highlighting the island’s aquatic life with close-up shots of crabs, snags and seaweed. The tour continues to the more wooded part of the island with tall trees, lush grass and flowering shrubs. The island is completely self-sufficient thanks to fish caught in the sea, vegetables grown in the garden and meat sourced from the island’s local stocks.
The guests are seated and the waiters help them by pulling out chairs and placing napkins on their laps. A cheerful sommelier paces the room offering aged reds and chilled whites. As soon as the chef appears to greet his guests, silence reigns in the hall, and all eyes turn to him. He poetically expounds his nutritional philosophy with a hint of sinister overtones. Diners are unaware that they are involved in a sinister game of cat and mouse until the second course is served, consisting of raw scallop, marinated local seaweed and the stone on which it all sits. By this point, it’s too late for them to run away.
As the meal progresses, tension builds with each increasingly unusual dish. The writers skillfully satirize the demands of the culinary industry without compromising the level of creativity and skill required to prepare high-quality meals every night. Colin Stetson’s score, imposing, tense and powerful, further immerses the audience in the tense atmosphere of the restaurant.
However, the film’s simplistic presentation of class tensions risks undermining an otherwise well-crafted story about the intense pressures created by capitalism and its controversial consequences. The film suggests that those who are not rich are trapped in a vicious circle of poverty. While The Menu hints at a more subtle and darkly humorous analysis, it falls short, relying too much on the chef’s long and overly explanatory speeches.
Mylod’s film shines when it focuses on the cooking process, showing the meticulous and detailed ways in which the staff roast, cure, ferment, measure, flavor, decorate and meticulously construct each dish. In these scenes, creating a tasting menu is akin to a theatrical performance, with high stakes, big egos, and a constant pursuit of fleeting sensations.
The Menu is a dark comedy that explores class tensions and the culinary world. The film features an entire cast of guests, each with their own story, all sharing a common reality of wealth, privilege and access. The film is well made, with crisp visuals and an interesting story, and is a commentary on the culinary world and people’s obsession with it. However, it also has its drawbacks, such as an overly simplistic depiction of class conflicts, which can detract from the otherwise well-constructed plot.
The biggest problem is that they didn’t show how and why the staff is so blindly loyal to the boss that they are ready to give their lives for him. They just tell us – here is the boss and for some reason he is so cool that they are ready to kill for him. Why is he like this? What did he do? What does he say to his staff? They don’t explain anything, even though that’s the most important thing.
It seems that this is the last series, and in the first they showed how he lived to see such a life.
Reminds me of the solstice. There is also a stubborn sect, but there the whole film is shown and the atmosphere is whipped up in which people are ready to give their lives. And you believe. And here it’s just “here’s a second chef, it will open right now.” What? Why? What for?
I love all sorts of stories by sect, especially when people cut themselves out, but there is a fierce game going on. And here it’s simple – we are in a restaurant and the staff is ready to die for the chef. It’s like limiting the story of Superman to “well, it’s just a strong man who can fly and lasers out of his eyes.”
More shortly on the cheek to all such critics of high art. Don’t be fooled by “more subtle and darkly humorous analysis”. Do not be afraid to look into the essence, do not be afraid to speak your feelings.
By the way, in three days I watched three films and the menu was between them. The first was Banshee, and the second was the price of passion. And it just so happened that they are all about the same thing – what must happen for a person to harm himself or another. And the menu failure in the context of these films is even more noticeable.
Oops, it didn’t fit. I had to split it into two parts:
… And in the middle of all this there is Margot, who generally passed by and generally came to devour fast food and believes that food is needed only in order to put it in her jaw so that her belly does not hurt. I kind of had a bite, I was satisfied and glory to Glob!
Margot is an ordinary spectator who just needs to eat. Without this tinsel, representation, symbolism, sacred meaning, triple double bottoms and statements on some topic. Because food is just food and there is nothing more behind it.
In the end, she still asks to let her eat standard, ordinary, food. Eats and enjoys the final while sitting and looking at all this from afar.
In general, this film, it seems to me, is a more expensive, smart and veiled version of *Killer Wheel* (well, or whoever had the translation of this film).
Not some kind of masterpiece, not an ultra-statement, not a violent satire with a claim to ahh. It’s just a good film, with beautiful and good actors. Voldemort alone is worth something. Well, Margot, of course. To drag commoners like me into the film. Actually, yes, why did I buy into the film because I saw it in the trailer.
In general, you can summarize everything with a phrase from the film, which was supposedly inappropriately said to one of the characters for some reason, although in fact it seemed to be said directly to the viewer: You will receive less than you want, but more than you deserve.
Like, people will be disappointed because they were expecting something more, but they really got more than they deserved, but they didn’t buy it.
Once again, it seems to me that the film is more about films and critics with the audience, and not about food in kind food.
And it’s also funny how an admirer and imitator of the chef’s / director’s work himself stood at the stove and made incoherent / tasteless shit, because it’s one thing to sit on the sidelines to admire and understand secret meanings (even where they don’t exist), and another thing to do something yourself then do. Even in the best kitchen, with the best ingredients and the ability to ask for literally anything.
It seems to me that you are in vain as much as loudly and repeatedly declaring that this is a comedy. This is not a comedy in the broadest sense of the word. At all. Here, from the comedy, perhaps the antics of the dude that came with Margot. And that’s in the first half.
Well, a “comedy” for those who also superficially watched the film and it seems to him that everything that happens is idiocy and stupidity, as many once scolded * Killer Tire *, although they really shot it as hypertrophied as possible, which seems like absurdity .
The Menu, it seems to me, is rather not about really dishes, cuisine, and even more so the stratification into rich and poor. This is a movie about a movie/movies, so to speak. Or rather, even a film about the audience and those who make films.
I can’t clearly explain because I myself am far from being a movie esthete and a negligent critic in a pierced T-shirt, in short, my mind and vocabulary are not enough to explain my idea to the end, but approximately I understand it like this:
A restaurant is a cinema theater stage, where for the audience a play is being played.
Here we have the Chef in the roles, who, as it were, is a director and explains his creative ideas of what each dish carries with it, why it is made from what it is made of and what story from childhood is behind it.
There is his assistant who watches everything (here is the young lady who met the guests). There is a “film crew” that fulfills all the orders of the “director”.
There are spectators/guests.
For example, a very important critic (a young lady whose food was served the wrong color), who failed and closed entire restaurants with her criticism (again, due to the fact that there was something wrong with the ingredients and the dish became the wrong color, which she considers should have been according to the critic)
There is her henchman on errands, who does not fumble for movement at all, only repeats clever words after her and also sucks dishes for himself, he doesn’t understand what, consider this a standard commentator from the Internet who has heard enough of his favorite blogger and then spreads his version of what he saw on the Internet, himself another time without even understanding why he cock sucks something.
There are some Dalar thugs who believe that they run everything here, but in fact they also work for their uncle. But at the same time they have arrogant characters, like, give us bread for the dish, I don’t give a fuck about your chef’s idea and concept, the dish should have bread and fucked up otherwise we will complain and you will not be sponsored!”
There is also a rich man with a fat belly who has already been to this restaurant many times, but ate like in a diner, not even understanding the joke of all this and not remembering the names of dishes/movies. She goes there purely for status.
There is a man who flew into this movement stupidly because of the hype and to show himself, although he is a dick and a rogue who is only trying to seem more important than he really is.
There is a main character who is aware of the whole “kitchen” and watches the chef (director) with delight, even when he just stands there and does nothing, he even considers this a brilliant move. And each dish explains what the chef/director wanted to tell them. And it seems like it gets too high even from the seaweed on the stone.