The Menu - Review (London Film Festival 2022)
Less Than You Desire and More Than You Deserve. 4 / 5
Directed by Mark Mylod.
A couple travels to a coastal island to eat at an exclusive restaurant where the chef has prepared a lavish menu, with some shocking surprises.
Releases in UK Cinemas: November 18th 2022
The London Film Festival surprise film is always cause for discussion and is one of the highlights of the festival. Whether audiences love or hate it, creating shortlists of potential candidates, seeing if the BFI will play it safe or make an unhinged choice. This year they settled on this deliciously hilarious The Menu which immediately split the room as expectations were high.
Nicholas Holt and Anya Taylor-Joy travel to a remote island to eat at one of the most exclusive restaurants in the world even though their palates couldn't be further apart. Holt gives a giddy performance embracing the irritating 'foodie' personality, appreciating every bite and throwing out nonsensical vocab about flavour profiles and the unbridled genius of the chef. Meanwhile Taylor-Joy is just along for the ride. Unbothered by the gels and foams, seeing through the façade and just after a dose of normalcy. When Ralph Fiennes maniacal and mysterious Chef Solwik arrives to serve the first course, the film takes on a whole new life beyond the Chef's Table.
Mark Mylod takes his stylish directorial eye that has made shows like HBO's Succession giants of the platform to the culinary industry capturing the specificities and delicate nature that goes into every meal. But with two head writers for The Onion taking care of the script, the film becomes a wickedly funny satire on the industry that goes to sinister lengths to create a meal to remember.
The Menu respects and satirises the fine dining industry in equal measure. It makes you hungry with the mouthwatering meals on display but is very tongue in cheek with how far it can push the concept - which is surprisingly far. It gets carried away with its fantasies, but if you're after dinner and a show with a mischievous twist, I've got the perfect recipe for you.