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Monday, March 4, 2024

Movies with Tarek: ‘The Menu’


As a foodie, The Menu spoke to me on many levels. The subjects of food operations and related quality factors appealed to my taste. With Ralph Fiennes as the lead chef, I knew I was in for a treat. Again, he displayed the demonic attitude he often possesses in his roles. Given Fiennes’ performance, I would refer to The Menu as a film where Voldemort (from Harry Potter) opened a kitchen.

The Menu is stunning in its chronological order of events. The different courses and the high-class guests are one intriguing factor of the film. The continuation of courses is another factor. The courses are not the only interesting feature, because there are some dangerous consequences that come along in the restaurant as well. Audiences are in for some surprises as they embark on this wild food adventure.

The film begins with a couple, Tyler, and Margot (Nicholas Hoult and Anya Taylor-Joy). They travel to a high-end restaurant on a deserted island. Ralph Fiennes is Chef Slovik; opinionated, creative, passionate, and evil. The tale of food begins with an array of fancy dishes. However, as the night goes on, the Slovik’s attitude starts to deteriorate. As Slovik senses rudeness from his guests, he starts to make the restaurant experience go awry. The food choices start to be low-quality, the atmosphere becomes more harrowing, and there are more horrific surprises. Tyler, Margot, and everyone else in the restaurant may be at risk for something much more shocking than they have expected. The question is whether they can leave the restaurant safely.

As the more the film progresses, Fiennes’ performance is increasingly demonic. In the film, his character takes pride in his kitchen. When he sees his guests showing no appreciation (in his own mind), then the lavish experience takes a turn for the worse. Fiennes is fabulous when he is in his egotistical mode which is why I loved The Menu. Fiennes is simply fantastic playing the chef who must have his way like an evil king.

The Menu is anxiety-provoking with layers of dark comedy. The audience can sense that the experience is shady. Fiennes’ acting ability torments the viewers with invigorating madness. I found the film to be spectacular and stunning in large part due to the competition for respect in the kitchen which is especially challenging to receive in The Menu.

Is the restaurant experience harrowing? How much can go wrong? Did Tyler and Margot make a mistake? The Menu has those answers. It also has more witty and unexpected surprises which make this film the wild and twisted adventure of the Thanksgiving season. Three and a half stars for The Menu.

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Tarek Fayoumi
Tarek Fayoumihttp://movieswithtarek.com
Tarek Fayoumi is the creator and lead critic of movieswithtarek.com. He also contributes to Medium.com, is an approved critic of Bananameter, and a member of the Chicago Indie Critics (CIC) and Independent Film Critics of America.


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