A sharp tongued, bitingly funny and twisty tale of delectable disturbing-ness backing a host of standout performances.
WRITTEN BY JACK RANSOM / NOVEMBER 22, 2022
The Menu sees a young couple (Anya-Taylor Joy & Nicholas Hoult) travel to a remote island to eat at an exclusive restaurant where the head chef (Ralph Fiennes) has prepared a lavish menu, with some shocking surprises.
Searchlight Pictures have produced some of the highlights of this year with The Banshees of Inisherin, See How They Run & Nightmare Alley (going by UK release dates) and I have heard great things about Good Luck to You, Leo Grande. The Menu certainly earns its place at the aforementioned table with its sharp tongued, bitingly funny and twisty tale of delectable disturbing-ness backing a host of standout performances.
Establishing its gratuitous, greed and wealth driven dinner guests quickly before strapping them into a night of culinary chaos. With each course working as a stepping stone to learning about the invitees secrets and the true intentions of Hawthorne. Gratuitously grazing on the themes of class, wealth and morality and utterly ripping into snooty food critics, wannabe foodies, walk street types and celebrities utterly desperate to remain relevant. There are certainly familiar comeuppances and expected reveals, yet there are buffet’s worth of surprises, shocks and a clever rhythmic structure that flows just as efficiently as Chef Slowik’s (Fiennes) cooking regiment.
The film boasts a slick, garish and intoxicating visual style. The hard edged and menacing glamour to the set designs and the lavish, intricate presentation of the meals are superbly crafted (seriously *that* cheeseburger looked incredible) and the title cards that are used to describe each meal are a definite standout. The camerawork glides and cuts smoothly across the limited substantially one-location setting effectively. The rare bursts of violence shock appropriately and of course practical effects are always welcome.
Anya-Taylor Joy continues her leading lady dominance of recent unique, original, strange and mostly always excellent genre flicks. Her snarky skepticism at the whole affair counteracts the hilariously obsessive, petty and (intentionally) relentlessly cringe-inducing boot kidding from Nicholas Hoult. Ralph Fiennes absolutely dominates the screen with his magnetic, steely presence and he is clearly relishing the antagonist role. The supporting cast including John Leguizamo, Hong Chau and Janet McTeer also are a lot of fun.
The Menu is certainly a tasty meal for those in the mood for a slice of big screen originality. Fiennes crushes it, A-TJ brings her sparky presence and Hoult is hysterical. The film’s secret reveals and twists overshadow its trailer potentially revealing too much and it has a bucket load of style, flair as well as a layer of campy schlock that blends nicely with the pristine and prestige demeanour of the location setting.