Menu: A feast for the five senses

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Restaurant-based horror movie starring Ralph Fiennes as obsessed celebrity chef is perfectly cooked, says Tom Einarson

Restaurant-based horror movie starring Ralph Fiennes as obsessed celebrity chef is perfectly cooked, says Tom Einarson

Anya Taylor-Joy at the premiere of The Menu in New York last month

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Authentic fine dining can be an interesting experience. A gorgeous taster in Luxembourg who has tried his menu or been surprised by the restaurant’s prices. menu It must resonate.

Imagine the most exclusive eateries that make all the posh spots of the Grand Duchy look cheap by comparison. Now imagine it’s run by a cult led by dementia Gordon Ramsay.

Ralph Fiennes stars as celebrity chef Julian Slowik, the quirky and meticulous cook who runs his restaurant, Hawthorne, like a solidly sailing ship. World-famous for his large-scale culinary events (consisting of numerous courses and running late into the night), his kitchen and his staff are dedicated to him.

For an even more special event, he invited celebrities and food critics to Hawthorne to sample his latest creations. An event that blurs the line between performance and culinary arts.

On board are Tyler (Nicholas Hoult), a foodie and obsessive Slowwick fan, and his clueless date Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy). The latter amazes with Slowik’s method. While he himself indulges in intense, self-important showmanship, his staff work in his kitchen in the open as if enraptured. Around her are pretentious food critics, cocky banker types, and half-washed celebrities. It’s a rich man’s world, something completely alien to her.

hell’s kitchen

But for the avid Slowik, this will be his final dinner/performance. The door of the restaurant (located on a remote island) is locked, and the head chef’s tone changes in a disturbing direction. The moment all hell broke loose in this strange hell kitchen, the kitchen staff ritually committed suicide in the middle of the dining area. Talk about atmosphere.

menu Effectively set to be an elaborate, self-contained performance by Slowik and his team of devoted cultists. Given that the action is confined entirely within the confines of a fancy restaurant and planned by its owners, the reactions of the guests foreshadow the course of events. You find yourself trapped in a show that you consciously attend.

Ralph Fiennes to Star as Celebrity Chef Julian Slowick

Ralph Fiennes to Star as Celebrity Chef Julian Slowick

shutter stock

The effect of this story is similar to a storm in a bottle. menu An interesting piece of psychological horror. Slowik’s brutal final performance makes every guest a set piece and their defiance part of the event. All guests (Burmargot) were invited for a reason. They were either willing to agree to be ritually murdered, somehow crossed over Slowwick, or someone he deeply disliked.

Margot, whom he invited after his girlfriend dumped him shortly before the event, except for Tyler’s date. She is a nuisance in Slowwick’s plans and an unwanted guest in what will be everyone’s last supper. Here, a storm of Slowik bottles can be seen cracking, threatening to derail an already psychotic multi-course meal.

However, this tension does not overturn the enclosure of performance art. There is nothing the other guests can really do. Because kicks and screams against confinement are already pre-set as part of Slowik’s. GesamtkunstwerkMargot cannot escape as usual. Slowik’s plans are too meticulous and their staff too loyal.

There are no knights in shining armor

As the violence escalates, Taylor-Joy is given time to shine while Margot plays a game of witty Slowick. No miraculous savior appearances, no overpowering guards and stealing keys. And the movie is even better at it.

menu, despite being a high-concept in itself, it relies so much on its lead role, Slowwick, his showmanship, and his treatment of Margot, that it is in constant peril. But Ralph Fiennes, thanks to his Shakespearean training and air, succeeds in an act that balances artistic elegance with chaos. He is eloquent and always speaks in a theatrical tone. He differs from Patrick Stewart in other ways.

In this sense, Fiennes menucentral role. Not going too far with either Gordon-Ramsayism or a mad death-gazing psychopath is a role that, in hindsight, seems tailor-made. The lights never go far. menuThe main antagonist and crazed cook of

vague black mirrorPsychological thrillers like Fiends have a horror side to them, served with Fiennes’ delightfully nuanced performance. And unlike cheesy food-related puns, it never gets old. It perfectly details its chilling vision, and in many ways fosters a keen sense of culinary claustrophobia.

As with many fine dining restaurants in Luxembourg, the experience is disconcerting and dreadful, resembling the prices of small, overdesigned dishes in one of the fine dining restaurants in the city.

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