Monday, January 9, 2023

The Menu (2022)


Streaming Service: HBO Max
Movie Name/Year: The Menu (2022)
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Thriller
Length:  1h 46min
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: Alienworx Productions, Hyperobject Industries, Searchlight Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, HBO Max
Director: Mark Mylod
Writers: Seth Reiss, Will Tracy
Actors: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Fiennes, John Leguizamo, Nicholas Hoult, Judith Light, Aimee Carrero, Arturo Castro, Christina Brucato, Hong Chau, Janet McTeer, Paul Adelstein, Rob Yang
IMDb Blurb: A young couple travels to a remote island to eat at an exclusive restaurant where the chef has prepared a lavish menu, with some shocking surprises.

Selina’s Point of View:
I’ve been hearing a lot about The Menu lately. It came out in November of 2022, and I had it as my #5. Despite that, it’s really only in the past couple of weeks that I’ve been seeing clips pop up. I thought we should open the year with it as our first review.
I’m glad I did.
I was no where near prepared for The Menu. It was a screaming statement on class warfare, a whole new way to perceive the saying: ‘eat the rich.’
This was not a jump-scare-riddled horror movie. This was the kind of terrifying visual statement that had me saying, out loud, “what the fuck” pretty often. At no point did I ever have any idea what was going to occur, and still the horrific moments seemed to play out in slow motion as if I was in the room when they happened.

Not only that, but The Menu takes a hard look at what it means for people to insist that everything in the whole world must be elevated and perfect, without ever returning to something simple and fun. Perhaps the critics who think there’s no room for popcorn movies can take a lesson from this elevated horror.
It’s almost amusing to read some of the reviews for The Menu from critics who missed the point entirely.
Ralph Fiennes (The King’s Man, No Time to Die, The Forgiven) and Anya Taylor-Joy (The Northman, Last Night in Soho, The New Mutants) did phenomenal work, but they weren’t alone. Nicholas Hoult (Tolkien, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Banker) gave off the impression from the beginning that there was something off with his character, but never ruined the surprise. Hong Chau (The Whale, Showing Up, American Woman) remained stoic, carrying the creepiest aura while on screen. I could say something about every actor playing a patron, but it would take days to write.
I cannot recommend The Menu enough. It was an amazing watch. 

Cat’s Point of View:
I can’t say that I’ve really become a die-hard foodie in the last umpteen years, but I really enjoy watching cooking shows – generally the competitions. I have learned a lot about different ingredients and how to prepare them that way. The judges on these shows tend to use culinary jargon left and right – and some of it does just sound silly if you think about it.
I do love cooking, I just rarely have the energy for anything complicated. These days, complicated is anything that requires me to stand for more than a few minutes at a time or linger in the kitchen after it has hit a certain heat threshold. I recently accepted a Hello Fresh offer and excitedly went to prepare the 2 meals I’d ordered… and was exhausted afterward. They turned out great, though! I digress…
I guess what I’m trying to get at is that The Menu was a glorious mashup of things I enjoy – movies, dark comedy, horror, and food. I was sorely tempted to add ‘taking pretentious people down a peg or two’ to that list, though, I can't say that I've ever participated in or witnessed a 'take-down' quite the way it is presented in The Menu. The element of ‘sticking it to the man’ and revenge was clear within the story and I was all in for it.

The Menu might not be to everyone’s taste, but horror lovers should be able to find at least something to identify with among the meticulously planned thrilling dishes served within the film. Seriously, though, what’s up with the restaurants that charge the equivalent of a mortgage payment to serve you a few bites of fancy-plated food? 
The Menu absolutely pokes at the establishments like that, as well as pretentious food critics and food bloggers that delay the enjoyment of their meals while they snap a zillion pics for “the ‘gram” first. I loved Anya Taylor-Joy’s (The New Mutants, Last Night in Soho, Peaky Blinders) character Margot’s reaction to the ticket price for a meal at the exclusive island restaurant: "What are we eating, a Rolex?"
I could ramble about the cast further, as they were a large draw to The Menu for me, though I already did that in my #14 entry on November 2022’s Top 20 article. All of them met and exceeded my expectations. In hindsight, I’m wishing I’d placed this movie in a better position on that countdown. It should have rated the Top 10 at the very least. My 19-year-old watched it with me as well, and while she found the movie strange in some ways, she enjoyed it in spite of her general aversion to the horror genre.
I do love a good Motörhead song now and again, as well; and as the final credits rolled, I thought to myself that it was a seriously missed opportunity not including "Eat the Rich" in The Menu’s soundtrack. Even with that said, I was intrigued and entertained by The Menu and would gladly watch it again. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 89%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 76%
Metascore – 71%
Metacritic User Score – 7.0/10
IMDB Score – 7.3/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4.5/5
Movie Trailer:

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