Written by Seth Reiss and Will Tracy
Directed by Mark Mylod
Starring Ralph Feinnes, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, Hong Chau, Janet McTeer, Judith Light, Reed Birney, Paul Adelstein, Aimee Careere, Arturo Castro, Mark St. Cyr, Rob Yang and John Leguizamo
A couple (Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult) travels to a coastal island to eat at an exclusive restaurant where the chef (Ralph Fiennes) has prepared a lavish menu, with some shocking surprises.
The Menu is unique in the annals of suspense and that is definitely a plus. It has an interesting visual style from director Mark Mylod and that style does a great job of setting the tone and mood of a scene for the audience. The arrival to the island is shot to give a sense of exclusivity and isolation. The dining room and kitchen perfectly capture the opulence of the evening while giving off a sense of foreboding. There are even great shots of the food that one would see in a cooking series on Netflix like Chef’s Table.
All of these things draw in the viewer and kept me riveted as the suspense builds throughout the film with the revealing of secrets and the growing danger through each course.
Ralph Feinnes is brilliant as Chef Slowik. He commands the room as a famous chef must and his delivery has a hypnotic tone that can both put you at ease while making you nervous at the same time. I can understand why his character commands the level of loyalty he receives from his staff. A loyalty that only adds to the danger and suspense of the story.
Anya Taylor-Joy is fantastic as Margot. She is the only one there that doesn’t really belong, but she has secrets like all of the guests. Her interactions with the other patrons as well as Slovik are great and I love how the mystery of who she is and why she is on the island unfolds. Nicholas Hoult does a great job of playing opposite Margot as a self obsessed wannabe foodie who is constantly vying for the Chef’s attention. Their scenes together and the circumstances of why they are on the island are great and his character delivers some intentional and unintentional comedic moments that lighten many of the more dour and suspense heavy scenes.
As the decadent and increasingly gory evening continues, the film becomes a battle of wills between Slowik and Margot and the final moments between the two of them brilliantly bring all the tension and suspense to a unique and entertaining conclusion.
The Menu is a fun, often funny and suspenseful indictment on food culture, decadence and chef culture. It is filled with great moments, great looking food and sets and great acting from its ensemble cast. It hits all the marks for the viewer and I definitely recommend checking it out.
The Menu is currently available on Digital.