"Excessive and Ultimately Unappetizing"
What You Need To Know:
THE MENU is a unique horror movie, with fantastic performances. The music blends well with punchy editing and cinematography, which mirror the technical proficiency of the food preparation onscreen. This results in a buildup of suspense, with satisfying payoffs, whether comically or scary. However, the movie’s tasteful presentation is marred by excessive violence and foul language. There’s little to no moral substance in any of the character’s motives, values or desires, but that’s THE MENU’s main point. Even so, media-wise viewers probably will find this MENU ultimately unappetizing.
THE MENU is a new comical horror movie about a young couple who travel to an isolated island to dine at an exclusive restaurant run by a renowned bit obsessed culinary artist where the guests quickly realize their host is cooking up something sinister when a man commits suicide as part of a main course. THE MENU is a unique horror movie, with fantastic performances by its lead actors, but it’s ultimately marred by excessive violence and foul language.
The movie begins on a pier as Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) and Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) await the arrival of a boat that will take them to Hawthorne island. Tyler tells Margot, who is presumably his girlfriend, that he had to pay thousands of dollars to earn a seat at the table in the island, which is home to an exclusive restaurant.
Tyler recognizes other food critics and celebrities, as 11 total guests get on the boat headed toward the island. Upon their arrival, they get a tour of the island and how the culinary artist and head chef of the restaurant, Chef Slowik (Ralph Fiennes), uses natural ingredients in all of his food.
As the guests are seated in a beautiful, modern dining room, they have an open view of the kitchen and the many workers who respond to the Chef’s every word and command.
The courses begin, and Tyler says he’s been obsessed over food and Chef Slowik’s cooking for years, adding that he wants to somehow connect with the Chef. Margot and several of the other guests do not fully understand the concept of Chef Slowik’s artistic and theatrical presentation of food.
As the night progresses, Margot grows increasingly uncomfortable, but Tyler is hooked on every last word that The Chef says. However, chaos breaks out when Chef Slowik’s Sous Chef commits suicide as a part of the next course. Some guests think it must be fake, Tyler is enthralled at the performance, and Margot is fed up with the restaurant and tries to leave.
It quickly becomes clear that Chef Slowik’s shock and awe presentation blurs the line of theatrics and reality, and the guests begin to fear for their lives. However, Chef Slowik sees that Margot is different from the rest of the guests and offers her a spot with his team of cooks. When Chef Slowik reveals his plan for the final course of the night, Margot discovers an important clue about how she could leave Hawthorne with her life.
THE MENU is a unique take on the horror genre. It expertly blends music, cinematography and suburban performances to create a captivating story. However, beyond this, there’s little morality in any of the characters or their motives. At one point, Chef Slowik makes the claim that “Nobody is perfect,” and THE MENU explores the themes of obsession and emptiness with a unique backdrop of modern cuisine. However, the movie’s tasteful presentation is ultimately marred by excessive violence and foul language. Also, there’s little to no moral substance in any of the character’s motives, values or desires, but that’s THE MENU’s main point. Even so, media-wise viewers probably will find this MENU ultimately unappetizing.
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