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Thoughts About The Menu

I caught up with The Menu and really enjoyed it. It’s a wicked send-up of fine dining and snooty rich people (something that’s definitely been in the air recently), from director Mark Mylod (some of his “rich asshole” cast members from Succession play supporting roles).

I remember reading a glowing review of the script (by Seth Reiss and Will Tracy) on scriptshadow.

Ralph Fiennes is super fun to watch. And Anya Taylor-Joy is a mega-star.

Oh, and a typically outstanding performance by Reed Birney, who visits the FSM message board from time to time.

No spoilers here, but it’s about a group of rich foodies who go to a remote island to eat at the ultra-posh, ultra-exclusive restaurant run by Fiennes’ demented chef.

He’s crazy, and horror ensues—and it’s a curious blend of really effective, grounded suspense and wild satire.

One of the things that happens after you write scripts for years is that you notice how things are constructed. I did notice something in The Menu that is not a flaw, exactly, but it kept the movie a notch below an all-time, Rosemary’s Baby-level classic.

There is, in theory, a movie that already happened by the time this movie starts. That would be the Whiplash-styled story about a young wannabe culinary student who joins the crazy chef’s kitchen and has a tormented master–student relationship with him.

The one thing that firmly pushed the movie from grounded thriller to satire was the way the entire kitchen staff was 100% devoted to their chef to the point of carrying out the extreme behavior depicted in this film.

That would simply never happen.

And because there’s not a shred of daylight between the chef and his staff—no levers of persuasion the diners can use to get one of the staff to “flip”—that means the only way you can do the plot is to do it as a comedy.

But it’s dry humor—which is, of course, the best kind of humor.

It was, for me, truly funny and enjoyable. And I loved the climax between Taylor-Joy and Fiennes (again, no spoilers): very emotional and quite wonderful.

I was in the service industry myself—my earliest job was at an out-of-the-way restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard. So I get it.

It’s hard work—and so easy to look at the customers as being all dicks! (Most are super nice; but you only remember the handful of difficult ones.)

So kudos to this crazy movie.

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Robert Knaus
Robert Knaus
20 февр. 2023 г.

One of my top-five of last year. Hugely entertaining. Great score, too!

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