The story unfolds in chapters, following each dish on the menu, amuse bouche to the dessert. Each dish gets a personal introduction from Slowik; sometimes embarrassing staff. These speeches make him reminisce, confess, or philosophize in a way that at first seems amusing and daring, as one would expect from a man of genius.
Yet, as the courses get stranger – (the course of bread is completely conceptual) – the speeches are tinged with anger, self-loathing, megalomania and contempt. Slowik is a psychopath, a tortured artist who is tired of putting his creations in front of rich pigs.
This exclusive meal is designed as a last supper for a cross section of patrons he has grown to despise. Each guest was handpicked; their sins being grilled on tacos that appear on their plates like subpeonas calling them to account. The only exception is Margo, whom Tyler enlisted as a last-minute replacement after a breakup with his girlfriend.
For Slowik, Margo is the fly in the soup that ruined his immaculate preparations. He must find a way to classify it, find out if it belongs to the wealthy and privileged diners, or to the kitchen workers. This is where we start to see The menu as a story of class and inequality, which quickly translates into a reign of terror inflicted by the serfs on their social superiors.
When Margo sees a photo of a young Slowik flipping burgers, she can see that he has risen from working class to his current eminence. Successfully, he arrived at a nihilistic worldview in which a talented aristocracy is enslaved and belittled by the stupid and unworthy rich. Tonight’s meal is designed as the apocalyptic finale of his career: a political statement and a fearsome act of revenge.
In its constitution, The menu borrows from many different sources. The setting evokes thoughts of other cinematic islands, where the resident dictator could be Dr. Moreau or Dr. No. As most of the action takes place in the restaurant, guests of Bunuel’s are remembered The Exterminating Angel (1962), who are unable to leave the room.
On the one occasion that Slowik’s guests are asked to leave, the men are stalked by the hands of the kitchen, in a familiar scenario of B-level exploitation thrillers in which the villain pretends to give his friends a sporting chance. victims.
Slowik’s menu is designed to break diners’ pride and spirit in incremental steps, until their only thoughts are survival. In dramatic terms, the characters are little more than pawns, which doesn’t make for a memorable game. As representative types they are caricatures, even Fiennes, who plays Slowik with the same severity he brought to the title role of Coriolanus (2011).
After Hoult’s appearances in The Favorite (2018) and TV series Great, he seems destined to play the obsequious idiot. Only Anya Taylor-Joy has a role that acquires some light and shade.
The obvious movie to watch next to this is Ruben Ostlund’s triangle of sadness, which will be released in theaters in a few weeks. Again, the rich and decadent are targeted, though the humor is sharper and more subtle, at least until the vomiting begins. The driving force behind such films seems to be a sense of disgust at the incredible wealth and power concentrated in the hands of a small group of otherwise indiscriminate people these days.
The mega-rich are engaged in a full-time search for ways to spend their money, from expensive restaurants to luxury travel. They buy art and fund movies and political candidates with the same level of disinterest. Satire may be the only weapon that can be used against them, but it’s a dull knife at best. This is perhaps why, in The menuhumor quickly turns into murder.
Realized by Marc Mylod
Written by Seth Reiss and Will Tracy
Featuring Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, Hong Chau, Janet McTeer, John Leguizamo, Aimee Carrero
USA, rated MA 15+, 106 minutes