2022’s “The Menu” is an atmospheric cuisine satire thriller that takes on the view of “revenge is served hot”.
With spoilers ahead, CBJ News reviews the latest arrival on Disney+, which is dishing up plenty of nominations this awards season.
British film director Mark Mylod’s “The Menu” focuses on a young couple that goes to a renowned destination restaurant on a remote island where the famous chef Julian Slowik has prepared a spectacular tasting menu along with some surprising surprises.
Chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) views food more as something to be admired than as something to be enjoyed.
The meal is an abstraction, an idea, produced to satisfy some notion of perfection that has little to do with nourishment or pleasure and everything to do with the vanity of those who are creating and consuming the food.
His courses are prepared and presented with the utmost theatricality.
Except for a bemused Margo (Anya Taylor-Joy), Tyler’s last-minute substitute date (Nicholas Hault), most diners accept them with chin-stroking wonder.
The chef quickly becomes irritated by Margo’s arrival because she wasn’t part of his strict schedule for the evening.
Margo strikes Chef Slowik as a kindred spirit, someone who knows what it’s like to grow up with very little but has found a way to manipulate the system in some way to succeed.
A needy movie star, a miserable affluent couple, and three braying investment bankers are among the tasteless crowd of visitors to his culinary temple, which is run with cult-like devotion by the vicious front-of-house manager Elsa (Hong Chau).
The small group of 12 people symbolises various forms of riches, including old money, new money, and Hollywood money but you could say they are all motivated by the same desire – to dine well and have the best possible time.
The grand finale has Chef Slowik dissecting the pinnacle of junk food, the smores, that will purge everything with fire.
Towards the end, we see that Margo manages to escape by asking the chef for “real food” and wants a simple cheeseburger, which I found brilliant as chef Julian’s first experience working in culinary is at a diner that specialises in cheeseburgers.
Now that the movie has generated some attention in today’s society, many theories have emerged about the film’s ending and the cheeseburger’s meaning.
The Menu (2022)
dir. Mark Mylod pic.twitter.com/CLdRxPm9DG
— movie.channel (@moviechannelll) January 14, 2023
In a twisted, violent, extreme way, the menu displays that the issue with high-end cuisine today is that it has separated itself from low-end cuisine too much, leaving nothing in between.
No matter how exquisite the food is, you still go hungry.
Now streaming on Disney+.