The Menu’s U.S. premiere at Fantastic Fest was served complete with a plot appropriate dish served by the Alamo, a Q&A with the cast and crew, and of course, the movie itself. The story follows Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy, The Northman) and Tyler (Nicholas Hoult, The Favourite) as they travel to an exclusive restaurant. Margot thinks something is off from the beginning and before long Chef Slowick (Ralph Fiennes, The King’s Man) justifies her suspicions.
Featuring an ensemble cast that also includes John Leguizamo (Critical Thinking) and Judith Light (Julia), The Menu has incredible performances. Leguizamo and Aimee Carerro (Mack & Rita) stand out and have some of the film’s funniest lines. This includes a hilarious exchange that the Q&A revealed was improvised by the two.
But it is Fiennes who takes the cake. This should not be surprising considering he is a highly decorated actor. Still, the intensity here is off the charts. Slowick is both terrifying and funny and is impossible not to pay close attention to. Through Slowick and his customers, The Menu is constantly taking potshots and different parts of society. One of the main themes is the uber-rich acting very poorly. The writing does a good job of presenting different types of awful. The characters may not be fleshed out, but they do not have to be since it seems like they are content in their privileged bubble.
Foodie culture is also the butt of many jokes. Cooking shows are held in high regard and being able to eloquently discuss what was just served is of utmost importance. (Ironically, celebrity chefs and the showrunners of cooking shows were consulted during the making of The Menu. Unsurprisingly, there are some technical culinary terms and some beautiful shots of plated food.)
The Menu gives audiences exactly what they are craving. It is laugh out loud funny while the story is filled with wild twists. The supporting cast are presented in bite sized moments that give a peak inside their lives and tell exactly what type of people they are. Everything ends in a stunning conclusion that is simple yet still manages to leave an impression.
The Menu is screening at Fantastic Fest
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