Film Review: The Menu (2022)

The Menu works better when it is being implicit rather than explicit but a strong cast are highly watchable

“Now, who’s hungry”

The ensemble is the thing in The Menu, as a privileged guest list gather at highly exclusive restaurant Hawthorn to be fed by Ralph Fiennes’ celebrity chef Julian Slowik. Janet McTeer as a pretentious food critic, Reed Birney and Judith Light as loaded regulars, John Leguizamo as a washed-up movie star and Nicholas Hoult and Anya Taylor-Joy as a foodie and his last minute-date.

Directed by Mark Mylod and written by Seth Reiss and Will Tracy, the film joins them all on the private island where the restaurant is secluded and as it takes aim at the world of haute cuisine, it delights in skewering the uber-rich. Sitting in the world of horror comedy, it is a blackly funny film that is at its best when it is building up its ominous strangeness.

Overseen by fearsome maître d’ Elsa (a strong turn from Hong Chau), the specially-tailored menu offers up increasingly dark and dastardly surprises. There’s brilliant theatrics in the open-plan kitchen, wonderfully pretentious monologuing from Chef and lots of fun to be had, even if there’s a slightly annoying escape for someone at the end.

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