MORE SPOILER-FREE MINI-REVIEWS @ https://www.msbreviews.com/movie-reviews/other-films-watched-lff-2022 "The Menu is one of the biggest personal disappointments of the year. Mark Mylod's film boasts inspired performances by the entire cast - Ralph Fiennes and Nicholas Hoult stand out - and some clever satirical moments, but pretty much nothing else works. Humor falls completely flat - except for the sequences à la Masterchef Australia. Screenplay follows surprisingly generic paths, being a mystery without any minimally impactful shock. Characters lack depth, and the anti-elite message is too evident and insignificant. It should still get an overall positive reception." Rating: C-
Arch-foodie "Tyler" (Nicholas Hoult) and his girlfriend "Margot" (Anya Taylor-Joy) are off to dine in a restaurant without parallel. Based on an island of just twelve acres, they join a collection of wealthy and influential people for what has been defined as experience to die for! Upon arrival, we discover that "Margot" was not the originally intended guest of her companion - so first question... Who is she? Next question - why does it seem to matter so much to the fastidious and frankly rather menacing chef "Slowik" (Ralph Fiennes) and his assistant "Elsa" (Hong Chau) who looks like she used "Rosa Klebb" as a role model? As the dinner progresses it becomes quite clear that the menu is not just about the exquisitely prepared and presented food, but is also about an appraisal of the individually selected - and none too savoury - staff and clientele, none of who are quite what they seem! This has something of Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians" to it, and it quite effectively pokes fun at the supercilious and frequently rather pompous attitude of both those cooking and those eating (or experiencing) fine foam dining. That humour is dark and potent, too. Fiennes is entirely convincing and Hoult, as well as Janet McTeer as the self-important food critic "Lillian" and Paul Adelstein as her suitably obsequious companion "Ted" contribute well as the sense of the ridiculous evolves into one considerably more perilous. It could have evolved just a bit more quickly for me - there are certainly enough "get on with it" moments and though ATJ's character is feisty, it doesn't quite work and ultimately served to illustrate the increasing implausibility of the story and unlikely servility of the diners as we head towards an almost Vernean denouement. It is quirkily entertaining this - a well presented, multi-layered, attack on our own senses that is better second time around. Not perfect, but I suspect Michelin would love it.
**The Menu began with a tone and tension that made me want more but ultimately ended with confusion and disappointment.** The hype for The Menu intrigued me. The reviews celebrated its genius. So I had to see it. And when I sat in the theater and the credits began to roll, all o could say was, "Huh?" The Menu starts with Ready or Not vibes with a fish-out-of-water real-world character who ends up at a fancy dinner with a collection of high society foodies and critics. The trailer gave me expectations of cannibalism cult or Most Dangerous Game-type plots, but instead, nothing really happened. I think I understood what The Menu was trying to convey with its deeper meaning, but I still came up disappointed. Anya Taylor-Joy and the rest of the cast gave great performances, but there was little that really brought the movie together. Maybe the subversion of the cannibal or hunting expectation was the movie's brilliance? The Menu definitely tried to be clever, but whether it was or not might be open to interpretation. Ironically, I sat through the whole movie and left wanting more… left hungry.
_The Menu_ was one of the most unique thriller experiences of the year! The setup is fantastic, and the story gives you just enough information to intrigue even though the story path is somewhat generic. It is dark, honest, and quite hilarious. This unique blend created a thriller like no other. The performances were great. Anya Taylor-Joy was brilliant and is cementing herself as one of the best actresses of the decade. Nicholas Hoult was hilarious in such a subtle way that never takes away from the tense scenes at play. Ralph Fiennes is haunting but also sympathetic, making him a very interesting and genuine antagonist. This was such an amazing film and another smash entry into horror palooza that is 2022. **Score:** _86%_ | **Verdict:** _Excellent_
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