Zurich Film Festival: The Menu
Directed by Mark Mylod and produced by Adam McKay, this snappy satire sets out to serve the one percent some humble pie.
The plot revolves around an exclusive fine dining experience for the rich and famous. On a remote island, an array of upscale, local foods are prepared by Chef Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) and his staff. Among the limited number of guests are Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) and Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy), but the latter is told repeatedly that she “shouldn’t be here”: her name was not on the original invitation. With each course, her trepidation grows, until she finds herself faced with a choice between fire and frying pan.
A number of the twelve apostles attending the fateful supper are characterised delightfully – Paul Adelstein’s submissive editor, who opportunistically changes his opinion to align with his writer’s, or the has-been movie star (John Leguizamo), who name drops and boasts unabashedly in an attempt to stay relevant. With a flick of the wrist, Fiennes adds another exquisitely frosty villain to his résumé.
The script doesn’t uniformly aid the build-up of suspense. It is downright uncomfortable to watch adult, supposedly cultured men refer to themselves as “foodies” (whatever happened to Frenchisms like gourmet and gourmand?). However, once the characters have sufficiently been established as laughing stock, the tension tightens and genuinely keeps audiences guessing where the axe will fall.
Quite a few parallels can be drawn to Palme d’Or winner Triangle of Sadness, which also exposes the undiscerning greed of the elite and catapults these representative figures into an environment where their usual means of obtaining power becomes useless. However, unlike Ruben Östlund’s sharp conception, The Menu doesn’t challenge its own separation of takers and givers, customers and service providers, and as such the feature’s conclusion feels rather dissatisfying.
The Menu is released nationwide on 18th November 2022.
Zurich Film Festival is on from 22nd September until 2nd October 2022. For further information visit here.
Watch the trailer for The Menu here: