Chef’s kiss for The Menu, a daily special filled with dark delights.
Directed and dressed with considerable panache by Mark Mylod, from a script by Will Tracy and Seth Reiss, The Menu is pitch-black comedy, skewering pretentious food snobs like so much shish kabob.
Twelve affluent diners are picked up by ferry and transported to Hawthorn Island, a self-contained culinary colony dedicated to growing, raising, and cooking food that’s showcased at its exclusive Hawthorn restaurant.
Here, Chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) prepares mind-boggling tasting menus for $1200 a head. But this particular evening’s service is special. There will be no coming back for seconds.
In fact, there will be no coming back at all! Class warfare has seldom been served up with so many diabolical surprises.
Among the doomed diners are the Queen Bee food critic (Janet McTeer); a has-been Hollywood star (John Leguizamo); a multi-cultural trio of blowhard bros (Mark St. Cyr, Arturo Castro, Rob Yang), and fawning foodie fanboy Tyler (Nicholas Hoult), accompanied by his dazzling date, Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy).
Like a master showman in the guise of a humble cook, Chef Slowik meticulously describes each course. While doing so, he drops not-so-cryptic hints about the various axes he has to grind with each guest.
And when Slowik announces that there will be no bread served with the evening meal, because of its necessity to a working-class diet, the assembled eaters become even more uneasy.
Many timely topics are trotted out in The Menu—celebrity worship, commitment to ideals, pitiful power plays—and they all get seared by the heat of righteous service industry anger.
The quieter scenes of Slowik and Margot, slowly revealing themselves to each other, give us a breather between the mayhem of each successive course, until the feast’s fiery finale unfolds.
Margot wisely orders a cheeseburger to go. No surprise, it’s delicious!
You’ve gotta try this.