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Review: The Menu – A fractured foodie tale

'The Menu' is like a feature-length Twilight Zone episode ...
The Menu

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.
The Menu

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

Going in, I fully expected The Menu to be another cannibal-themed horror movie a la Hannibal (or the upcoming Bones and All film), but was pleasantly surprised to find there is no human flesh eating at all in this picture. Yay! Instead, it is a dark comedy and a smart commentary on the haves, the have-nots and those who have lost their way somewhere in the middle.

Ralph Fiennes brilliantly plays Chef Slowik, a Gordon Ramsay-like professional at the very top of his game, who only serves those who can afford to travel to his private island, where all of his premium ingredients are grown. His guests dine on one-of-a-kind dishes in his beautiful restaurant with a view of the surrounding ocean.

Chef Slowik and his staff live in on the island in military-style conditions and his people are steadfastly loyal to him and his mission of food service perfection. Great pains are taken to provide his guests with the ultimate dining experience.

The problem is that Slowik has been so successful in his art that only the hoity-toity rich can afford it, but because of their stature in society they are less than appreciative of the efforts behind his elegant entrees.

I’m not going to give anything away here, but The Menu is like a feature-length Twilight Zone episode. It’s thought-provoking and astute in its social satire, searing its subjects and then basting them in a delightfully humorous sauce.

The movie stars Anya Taylor-Joy as the mysterious Margot, a young woman who is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Nicholas Hoult as her would-be boyfriend, Tyler. There are also great performances by Janet McTeer as a celebrity food critic and John Leguizamo as a washed-up movie star. The Menu is directed by Mark Mylod of HBO’s Succession and Game of Thrones fame.  

Whether you are a foodie yourself or you roll your eyes at the pretentiousness of chefs and critics, The Menu is an intelligent look at what can happen when the joy is cooked out of our lives.

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About the author

Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.

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