A few people mentioned that The Menu was not on our list of the Best Movies of 2022, but that’s because it came out so late. It’s now on streaming, so here’s our review.
The blurb on The Menu is:
“A young couple travels to a remote island to eat at an exclusive restaurant where the chef has prepared a lavish menu, with some shocking surprises.”
If you saw the trailer, it gives you a good idea of where the movie will go but without giving too much away. It stars Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, Hong Chau, Janet McTear, Paul Adelstein, and John Leguizamo, to name a few.
It’s directed by Mark Mylod who, in his early career, directed episodes of Shooting Stars with Vic and Bob, The Fast Show, The Royle Family, and then on to episodes of Game of Thrones, Succession, and Entourage.
I’m a fan of The Royle Family and the direction in the episodes is very simple but very effective. If you haven’t seen it, it’s basically a documentary about people who live in Manchester, UK.
Back to The Menu, the direction here is spot on. Again it is simple but effective, making the story and characters very interesting.
I’m not going to spoil the story, apart from saying it’s not about cannibalism. If you saw the trailer you might think this is the route they are going to take, but no, it was too obvious. Instead, you have a wonderfully complex story about people going to a restaurant for an ‘experience’, not just a meal.
Near the beginning the Chef, played by Feinnes, tells all the guests:
“Do not eat…I want you to taste.”
The meal itself is not my style. I’m a pie & mash kind of guy. All that fancy food that costs a fortune, no thanks, and especially not at this place.
Act one sets up the characters nicely as we meet them all on the boat going to the island where the restaurant is located. Each of them is there for a different reason, some are foodies, and some are just having dinner out, courtesy of their boss.
Things all start out well until the second course, which is something simple – tacos. On the tacos though, images are printed, each of them personal to each of the guests and showing some people’s secrets. From here on in, it gets weird.
The Menu is a dark comedy, with a lot of layers to it, which again, I won’t spoil, but I think it’s something that different people will take away different things. It’s very well directed, very well acted, and has a story that keeps you invested all the way through. Highly recommended.
It is now streaming on Disney+ in the UK. Elsewhere it is available for streaming rental or PVOD via various platforms.