'The Menu' review: Tasty Fiennes dining in a delicious black comedy


'The Menu' serves up a hot steaming plate of delicous black comedy seasoned with spicy social commentary, flamed with a tasty turn by Ralph Fiennes. – Photos: Walt Disney Studios Malaysia

The Menu
Director: Mark Mylod
Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, Ralph Fiennes, Hong Chau, Janet McTeer, Judith Light, and John Leguizamo.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is with deepest pride and greatest pleasure that we welcome you tonight to Hawthorne, an exclusive restaurant on a remote island run by celebrity chef Julian Slowik.

Here, only the finest ingredients are served, and the food is not just meant to be eaten – every bite, every morsel, every chew, and every nibble, has to be savoured and contemplated. For this isn’t just a meal – it is art. As the chef himself would say, "Don't eat. TASTE".

Slowik has prepared a lavish fine dining gastronomy extravaganza and experience that will quite literally blow your mind. Oh, and by the way, that blood you see on your steak might not necessarily mean it is cooked extra rare.

But we digress! Pull up a chair and sit back as we proudly present... your review of The Menu.

Just because I have the word 'Joy' in my name doesn't mean I have to enjoy this meal.Just because I have the word 'Joy' in my name doesn't mean I have to enjoy this meal.

For your amuse bouche, I’ve prepared a simple synopsis served without spoilers.

On the plate, we have a young couple – a food fanatic named Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) and his date, Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) – who travel to Hawthorne, for what promises to be a meal to remember created and curated by the ultimate celebrity chef, Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes).

To go with this sweet, appetising couple, you have a delicious sauce that blends the spicy arrogance from a trio of tech bros (Arturo Castro, Robb Yang, Mark St. Cyr), the sour jealousy of an elderly wealthy couple (Reed Birney, Judith Light), the bitter resentment of a washed-up celebrity and his tired personal assistant (John Leguizamo, Aimee Carrero), and the salty jadedness of a renowned food critic and her boot-licking publisher (Janet McTeer, Paul Adelstein).

Oh look, it's Beauty and the Beast, geddit?Oh look, it's Beauty and the Beast, geddit?

Tasted individually, these characters may seem bland, but together, they form a delightful palate of different personalities that whets your appetite for what comes next.

But before we move on to the main dish, let us have a palate cleanser. To complement the appetiser and main course, we have a delightfully dry yet complex Maître D', played with understated relish by Hong Chau, who adds some spiky spice to the proceedings, building up the anticipation to the main course wonderfully.

And on to the main course! I hope you like your steak raw, bloody, and full of underlying rage, because that is what the ever fine Fiennes brings to this particular table.

Welcome to the zoo, and please do not feed the snobbish high-end diners.Welcome to the zoo, and please do not feed the snobbish high-end diners.

From the minute Chef Slowik enters the kitchen, you know this is not a man to be truffled, sorry, trifled with.

Fiennes plays the chef with a streak of sinister viciousness, his thunderous clap commanding fear and respect in his kitchen and restaurant, his piercing eyes constantly scanning the dining floor like a hungry tiger surveying his prey, and all the while, presenting his dishes with a calm but menacing tone that demands that you listen and obey his meticulous instructions on how to enjoy his dishes.

Woe unto you, those who dare question his methods and dishes, or decide not to partake in his exquisitely presented creations.

Make no mistake about it, this truly is Fiennes dining at its very best. This is a main course that is truly worth the slow build-up of the amuse bouche, one that serves up some deliciously tasty black comedy and bloody berry red violence with a literal bang.

To further discuss how Slowik creates, curates, and crushes his menu would be to give away too much of the story. Hence, I have purposely held back any mention of dessert in this review to avoid revealing spoilers (and we all hate spoiled food after all).

But rest assured, The Menu is a tantalizing watch that will stir fry your emotions, poach your foodie dreams, and boil your nerves, but will ultimately leave you well-fed and satiated. Just don’t go into the cinema hungry.

The Menu opens in cinemas nationwide on November 17.

9 10

Summary:

Tasty delicious black comedy seasoned with social commentary

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