A MATTER OF TASTE

Recipe for Disaster

Content -3
Quality
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Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: August 10, 2001

Starring: Bernard Giraudeau, Jean-Pierre Lorit and Florence Thomassin

Genre: Mystery

Audience: Adults

Rating: R

Runtime: 88 minutes

Address Comments To:

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Content:

(PaPaPa, AcapAcapAcap, RoRo, Ho, LLL, VV, S, NN, AA, D, MM) Pagan worldview with strong themes of violence, jealousy, obsession, sexual passions, many references to anti-capitalist views, Romantic elements, & homosexual content; 24 obscenities (nine “f” words) and two profanities; violence includes murder (implied by showing bloody clothes but stabbing not shown), man punched in face, man breaks leg on ski trip, and man self-inflicts a broken leg by striking a large vase to his knee; lying and deception; smoking, drug use and abuse, man vomiting; man suffering depression; brief sex scene shown as couple kissing in bed & older man insists on sharing sexual partner; brief male nudity and upper female nudity; and, lying, deception, envy of those in power, and strong themes of manipulation and imposed “depersonalization.”


Summary:

In A MATTER OF TASTE, a mysterious and wealthy tycoon, offers to employ a struggling waiter as his personal food taster, a job which can only be broken by death. Meticulously prepared, A MATTER OF TASTE comes off as half-baked, with a strong pagan worldview containing strong themes of violence, jealousy, obsession, sexual passions, and anti-capitalism.


Review:

A MATTER OF TASTE is an odd why-dunnit that could pass for a present-day hybrid of GOSFORD PARK and MEMENTO. This psychological thriller alternates between revealing flashbacks and a logical progression of unfolding events. In other words, the audience realizes early in the story that a personal food taster murders his wealthy employer, but the audience is challenged to understand why. It is simply remarkable that A MATTER OF TASTE can begin with the opening and closing scenes of a story and still be fascinating to watch. Regrettably, as is often the case with puffed-up pastries, this celluloid delicacy is not as satisfying as it initially appears.
Frederic Delamont, the mysterious and wealthy tycoon, offers to employ struggling waiter Nicolas Riviere in the unique role as his personal food taster. Frederic claims a fear of certain foods, so Nicolas is left to wonder if his Howard Hughes-type boss is simply paranoid or methodically maniacal. The unusual job offers an extravagant salary and lavish perks, so the blue-collar Nicolas is determined to keep his white-collar status, despite the increasingly strange demands Frederic places on him. Equally confused and uncomfortable is Nicolas’ girlfriend, who is trying to make sense of Frederic’s peculiarities and obsessions. Sure, A MATTER OF TASTE tempts us with luscious layers of mystery and an enticing array of believable characters, but some of the storyline’s rabbit entrails turn out to be nothing more than steamed red herrings.
Frederic’s manipulations range from the benign to the bizarre. Initially, Frederic expects Nicolas to share the same tastes in food, the same dislikes, the same female sexual conquest and even the same degree of pain. By the close of the story, Nicolas also shares in Frederic’s madness. Thus, these men share a bond that can only be broken by death. A MATTER OF TASTE is not, however, about repressed homosexual feelings, but it is rife with sexual tension and misguided passion.
Bernard Giraudeau (Frederic) and Jean-Pierre Lorit (Nicolas) flawlessly portray these characters, making them both interesting and sympathetic. It is curious to watch these two distinct characters merge into one likeness, and it is a bit depressing to know that this cannot end well. At one point, Nicolas learns that Frederic is suffering from “depersonalization,” whatever that is, but it is evident to the keen viewer that Nicolas is the afflicted individual. Frederic, in his twisted mental state, manufactures symptoms to merely reflect Nicolas’ struggle. Evidently, Frederic’s mental recipe is short a few key ingredients.
A MATTER OF TASTE begins and ends with recipes. Frederic is obsessed with finding the perfect blend in a relationship, asking Nicolas to share his “oneness.” Nicolas, on the other hand, wants to be part of the mix but foolishly believes he will not be manipulated. Ultimately, their unusual and obsessive relationship is a recipe for disaster.
A MATTER OF TASTE is a dish meticulously prepared, surely to be finely savored. Even so, it comes off as half-baked, seasoned with a strong pagan worldview.


In Brief:

In A MATTER OF TASTE, Frederic, a mysterious and wealthy tycoon, offers to employ struggling waiter, Nicolas, as his food taster. Frederic claims a fear of certain foods, so Nicolas is left to wonder if his boss is simply paranoid or methodically maniacal. The unusual job offers an extravagant salary and lavish perks, so Nicolas is determined to keep his job, despite the increasingly strange demands Frederic places on him. Equally confused and uncomfortable is Nicolas’ girlfriend, who is trying to make sense of Frederic’s peculiarities. Initially, Frederic expects Nicolas to share the same tastes in food, the same dislikes, the same female sexual conquest, and even the same degree of pain. By the close of the story, Nicolas also shares in Frederic’s madness. Thus, these men share a bond that can only be broken by death.
Bernard Giraudeau (Frederic) and Jean-Pierre Lorit (Nicolas) flawlessly portray these characters, making them both interesting and sympathetic. The movie contains, however, a strong pagan worldview with strong themes of violence, jealousy, obsession, sexual passions, many references to anti-capitalist views, plenty of foul language, violence, and homosexual content. Meticulously prepared, A MATTER OF TASTE ultimately comes off half-baked