The Menu (Mark Mylod, 2022) wr. Seth Reiss, Will Tracy; Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult; couple on remote island eat at an exclusive restaurant where the chef has prepared a lavish menu
I saw the film much as Wes Greene did (see below). Basically, I couldn't believe it. It might have helped if I could have seen it as a comedy – which apparently it is supposed to be. But, lacking that, I was watching an increasingly uncomfortable and implausible horrorshow. It also didn't help that Ralph Fiennes didn't have his heart in it. For the story to work, his character had to be remarkably charismatic, but he is remarkably dull.
Resist the temptation to think you know exactly what’s coming in The Menu. The "eat the rich" social satire has gotten quite a workout in cinema recently, even just at the Toronto International Film Festival, where this new film directed by Succession's Mark Mylod premiered. Sure enough, The Menu was programmed opposite the Knives Out sequel Glass Onion, both movies that featured a bunch of wealthy assholes gathered on a remote island.
But Mylod’s riff on fine dining and the people who partake consistently zigs where you think it will zag. ... Vanity Fair.
... the basic conclusions drawn from the depiction of class tensions threaten to unravel this otherwise tightly wrought story about the pressure-cooker conditions created by capitalism and its inconsistent application. Those who aren’t rich can’t afford to get off the hamster wheel. The Menu teases a more subtle, mordant analysis than it ultimately delivers with its over-reliance on the Chef’s rhapsodic, overly expository speeches.
Myod’s film is strongest when it focuses on process, and portrays just how the staff sautés, cures, ferments, measures, flavors, garnishes and obsessively constructs each dish. In those moments, executing a tasting menu begins to resemble the spectacle of theater: there are high stakes, bigger egos and an endless pursuit of an ephemeral feeling. The Hollywood Reporter.
... as potent as the film’s shocks can be in the moment, it’s difficult to shake off that the screenplay by Seith Reiss and Willy Tracy, both graduates of The Onion school of satire, lacks for the breadth of variety that’s necessary to make more than just a restaurant’s tasting menu take flight. The film simply doesn’t deliver on its promising premise, and its clumsiness is perfectly, if unintentionally, represented by the moment in which Slowik suggests to Tyler that he whip up something to eat and the flustered fanboy exposes his inexperience in the kitchen by haphazardly throwing a hodgepodge of food into a skillet and producing an undercooked meal. The Menu serves harrowing haute cuisine, but as the film increasingly spins its wheels toward a half-hearted conclusion, it also shows that coherence isn’t its strong suit. Slant.
Garry Gillard | New: 25 November, 2022 | Now: 29 January, 2023