‘The Menu’ Review [Fantastic Fest]
Mark Mylod’s The Menu is a dark comedy focused on the disparities between the working class, the rich, their relationship to food, and the lengths that we will go for passion.
The story follows a couple, Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) who visit an exclusive destination restaurant on a remote island. The restaurant features a cult-like staff who dedicate their lives to the restaurant. Head chef, Chef Slowik (Ralph Fiennes), has prepared a lavish tasting menu for the wealthy guests. This menu features shocking surprises that force the guests to reflect on their privileged lives.
The film features a cool tone palette with stark contrast, which lends itself perfectly with the film’s themes. The isolation and darkness of the environment brings focus to the dedication of the restaurant’s staff and emphasizes that there is no escape for those on the island. The meals in the film were beautifully presented juxtaposing it with the dark themes the film presented.
The soundtrack featured instrumentals that added to the eeriness of the film. The music kept you in anticipation of what would happen next. Chef Slowik would also clap to make announcements, and these claps definitely made you jump in your seat.
The film stars Anya Taylor-Joy, and Ralph Fiennes. Taylor-Joy and Fiennes interactions in the film were nerve-wracking. However, it also left you feeling curious as to how their relationship would develop. Additional cast include Nicholas Hoult, Janet McTeer, Hong Chau, and Aimee Carrero. In addition, Paul Adelstein, John Leguizamo, Judith Light, Rob Yang, Mark St. Cyr, Peter Grosz, Arturo Castro, Reed Birney, and Christina Brucato. All of the characters felt natural and believable. It was interesting and hilarious to see the interactions between each of the characters, especially the staff members interactions with the rich clients.
The Menu is one of my favorite films of the year. It features a lot of comedy, but also moments of horror that confront you with food, passion and classism. You’ll leave the film reflecting on your life, and the things that you prioritize.
The Menu releases November 18, 2022.