Review | The Menu (Spoiler-Free)

Image retrieved from Disney Plus

It’s an unspoken but universal truth that everyone secretly enjoys watching the downfall of other humans. Mark Mylod’s, The Menu (2022), is here to tantalise that very desire, presenting a thrilling dégustation of guilty pleasure, horror, and should-I-be-laughing comedy, served by a show-stopping cast. 

Taking place on an eerily beautiful remote island, the film follows a young couple, Margot and Tyler, played by Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult, who have reservations to eat at a highly exclusive restaurant owned by Ralph Fiennes’ Chef Slowik. As cliché as this sounds, this film is difficult to describe without giving the storyline away. Let’s just say that the plot begins to thicken once Chef Slowik begins to plate up his extravagant menu, unfolding a series of shocking surprises and unleashing an undying sense of suspense that carries the audience to the very end.

At its core, The Menu is a theatrical satire that cleverly pokes fun at the absurdity, elitism and excess of the fine dining world. It raises questions about the connections between artists and the art, while also illuminating and criticising the lengths that consumers are willing to go to jump on a trend bandwagon.

The exhilaratingly nonsensical storyline is amplified by The Menu’s excellent ensemble of actors, who each loosely represent a caricature from the world of high-end dining. There’s Tyler, a himbo mixed with die-hard Chef Slowik fanboy mixed and snobby food critic. There’s Margot, the only character with any grasp of reality and sensibility.

And the star of the show, the culinary genius that is Chef Slowik. Ralph Fiennes is truly captivating in the way that he can convey warmth, paranoia, apathy and passion all at the same time. If you thought Lord Voldemort was his most chilling performance, The Menu will make you think again.

Even just on Ralph Fiennes’ spectacular performance alone, this film was a “yes chef!” from us.