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The Menu Review

The Menu is a 2022 thriller directed by Mark Mylod and starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, and Ralph Fiennes.

84/100

Info: 

  • Run time: 1 hour 46 minutes
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • Director: Mark Mylod
  • Where to Watch: In Theaters

Review: 

After being invited at the last minute to attend an extremely fancy dinner at the renowned Hawthorne restaurant, Margot finds herself on a remote island with several millionaires, actors, and businessmen. The dinner becomes less of a meal an more of an experience as the reclusive and controversial Chef Slowik begins his evening presentation. The guests at Hawthorn are in awe at first, but their interest soon turns to disbelief and horror as the night continues to unfold.

The three big names headlining this story are Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, and Ralph Fiennes. Joy is an absolute delight, much like she has been the past few years. Her charismatic approach to every character makes her impossible to dislike, even if her character is supposed to be disliked (like in Amsterdam). Her Margot character has great interactions with Nicholas Hoult, who is absolutely insufferable as Tyler. He’s an obnoxious and controlling food bro who thinks he’s the bees knees for knowing all the fancy secrets about food. Much like film bros, he’s too busy telling you why it’s great and how you’re stupid for not liking it to understand that other people have different tastes. Bleh. Ralph Fiennes rounds out this cast with his haughtiness. As the movie goes on, Fiennes morphs his performance into one that suggests he’s disgusted with his own success and does so believably. I saw another review that said Fiennes plays Slowik like a combination of Gordon Ramsay and Hannibal Lecter. I think that’s an apt description.

Confined space location movies are always fun to watch when done well and this one is no exception. There are a few shots that take place outside, but for the most part, it’s all in one building. It really helps keep the attention on the characters and what they’re feeling. It almost works too well because I started to ask myself questions that I normally wouldn’t think of. Like why was Hong Chau’s character so jealous at potentially being replaced? What kind of hold did Slowik have over his staff to make them behave this way? Regardless of the fact that those question wouldn’t be answered, the tension throughout this story is fantastic. It was also surprisingly funny. If I had to hazard a guess, it’s probably because of the executive producer duo of Adam McKay and Will Ferrell of all people.

There wasn’t anything technically exceptional about this movie’s mechanics. It’s not visually exciting aside from a few shocking moments, but that credit goes to the excellent writing. The set work was gorgeous but there wasn’t any inspired cinematography or killer shot that I noticed. A lot of the best looking shots came off of plated food. Not to knock any YouTubers out there, but it’s easy to make food look good if it does all the work for the camera.

The Menu is not a movie I was aware of until just a few weeks ago and it is pleasantly surprising. Every twist and turn was shocking and unexpected. Anya Taylor-Joy leads this bizarre and darkly humorous movie from start to finish with another great performance. Paired with a great supporting cast of Nicholas Hoult and Ralph Fiennes, The Menu is very enjoyable and lives up to the hype.

Dylan M.
Dylan M.

Dylan created Movies Not Films as a fun project to stay occupied during the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Movies and TV shows had always been a big part of his life, but he never thought to share his thoughts online. Dylan started with a simple movie diary on a spreadsheet and eventually transformed it into MoviesNotFilms.com with a robust catalog of reviews, suggestions, and ranking lists. Currently living with his now-fiancé and two dogs, Dylan has a full time career but still makes time to watch all the latest movies and most of the new TV shows. Movies Not Films boasts a modest subscriber count and releases several new posts per week.

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