Director: Mark Mylod
Writer/s: Seth Reiss, Will Tracy
Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, and more.
Listen, Anya Taylor-Joy is in this movie. Enough said. I’m seeing it. Whether it’s great or absolute dogshit, I’m watching it. So what’d I think? I don’t know. I was a tad distracted. SO HERE WE GOOOO!
“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.”
Listen everyone, I have had a WONDERFUL time at the theater this year, especially within the horror genre. With the likes of “Nope,” “Barbarian,” “Speak No Evil,” “X,” “Pearl,” “Men,” and many, many more, it has been an exceptional year. When I saw the trailer for “The Menu,” despite already being locked in simply for my lady Anya Taylor-Joy being in it, I figured this had the capability to be quite an interesting thriller-esque film. Little did I know until the credits ran, this was going to be a wild horror-thriller ride. Blending the beautiful line of dark humor and horror, “The Menu” has cracked (as of now) the top five of my favorite films of 2022 and it’ll be quite hard to break that ranking.
My favorite kind of comedy is dark comedy. When you shouldn’t be laughing, that is when I am laughing. When you shouldn’t joke, that is when I’m joking. All throughout “The Menu,” there are numerous moments filled to the brim of dark comedy. So funny that I wanted to bust out laughing while the random stranger next to me was dead silent. If the dark comedy genre is a favorite of yours, surely “The Menu” is going to be your cup of tea.
More often than not, movies like this will contain a few lead performers and a handful of supporting characters who are primed for slaughter or torment. With said role, their performances are passable at best since they aren’t on the top bill. With “The Menu,” I was actually really impressed with all of the supporting performers enough to enjoy each of their bits of screen time. Without giving too much away, I just simply want to list out our supporting stars; Hong Chau, Janet McTeer, Paul Adelstein, John Leguizamo, Aimee Carrero (What’s up Critical Role!!!), Reed Birney, Judith Light, Rebecca Koon, Rob Yang, Arturo Castro, and Mark St. Cyr.
With that said, I refuse to not talk about our leads. First and foremost, the ever-lovely Anya Taylor-Joy. Her role of Margot is quite layered and reveals a lot as “The Menu” unravels itself. She does stellar as usual.
Nicholas Hoult: Easily one of the funniest parts of this dark comedy. He hits his beats at the perfect times and with perfect execution. Actually, Hoult holds some of the funniest dry and dark comedic moments for me.
Ralph God damn Fiennes: The Dark Lord himself. Ralph is an established actor, as if you needed reminded, but his performance as Chef Slowik is sinister, mysterious, and pure evil. However, despite being the marquee villain of the film, his motivations are hard to argue once they present themselves. Ralph Fiennes puts on an unhinged performance the can possibly crack my top ten of unhinged psychopaths. From his words, to his actions, and all the way down to the way he responds to moments with just his face… I applaud Ralph Fiennes.
As I said before, the horror genre has provided some of my favorite cinematic experiences this year, and maybe, debatably, ever. “The Menu” as of right now has cracked my top five favorite films on the year. I had such a great time watching it. From the shock and awe, to the hilarious dry and dark humor, and all the way to the killer performances. This seems to be director Mark Mylod’s first major feature film away from directing television. So it is safe to say I am very excited for his future in movies.
I haven’t stopped thinking about “The Menu” and I intend to watch it again very soon. Use some of this Thanksgiving break time to check it out, and if not now, soon!!!
P.S. Small spoiler section down at the bottom of this post!
Edited by Abby McNatt
No copyright infringement is intended.
*****SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILER*****
Quick spoiler bit because I loved this moment so much. Nicholas Hoult’s big crescendo of the movie is when Chef brings him into the kitchen since he was so knowledgeable of food and how it’s made, and since he was so knowledgeable to comment and critique the food, he demanded him to cook a dish then. To which we as the audience and all the characters within the movie realize that while he’s so knowledgeable of food, he doesn’t know shit about how to cook. Clearly, this was already known to Chef, but now it is an exclamation point of a moment as Chef tells him he is worth nothing in this world and he should kill himself.
This moment was SO GOD DAMN GOOD as it was not only a representation of what happens in the world of restaurants but also in the world in general where there are critics vs. the people who truly create. As a film reviewer and person who loves to analyze film, I’d be ignorant to miss this statement. There’s an eternal war with some creators and the people, like me, who choose to review and/or analyze movies and this moment was a callout to all those critics. For awhile now, I’ve chosen to take an different approach to how I type these reviews and soak in the movies I watch. A friend of mine, Alyssa, told me a long time ago that she doesn’t like to trash and talk shit on movies due to being very close to filmmakers as she was going through school, and she knows how much work and passion goes into those movies, even the ones that may not be viewed as “good.” This resonated with me then and to this day, which sparked the change in how I make these pieces. So this major moment made everything come full circle and I just LOVED it!