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The Menu (2022)

'The Menu' is a delicious horror satire, that focuses on pretentiousness and the impact that it has on the social class structures. Bringing together an incredible ensemble cast featuring stand-out players such as Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Fiennes and John Leguizamo, this film had been on my radar since I had a glimpse of the initial teaser trailer. The only question is, is 'The Menu' gourmet, or just a well-made Cheeseburger? The structure of the film plays out like its title, 'The Menu'. With each individual segment or act being broken down into courses, each one representing the act of the film and the diners stage of the evening. Whilst being quite unique with its narrative, I can't help but feel that this film has drawn heavy inspiration from the incredibly artistic way that Brian Fuller brought his 'Hannibal' TV show to the small screen. Not necessarily in structure, but in its focus on breathtaking cinematography regarding the encapsulation of the food and a beautiful classical music score composed by Colin Stetson. The plot had me engaged from the moment the opening credits rolled, focusing heavily on character development and the relationships between the guests dining at Chef Julian's restaurant. And whilst I had a general sense of the direction this was going to take, writers Will Tracy and Seth Reiss quickly surpassed all expectations, and then some. I was amazed at how well crafted their story telling was and how neatly everything came together in the closing moments. Not only leaving all plot and sub-plots answered in their entirety, but bringing what seemed like an impossible moment of redemption for the lead antagonist. Ralph Fiennes is sensational in this role as Chef Julian Slowik. Fiennes performance is so captivating from start to finish. Anya Taylor-Joy, too, gives an exceptionally awe-inspiring performance as reluctant diner Margot. Talyor-Joy has become one of the more notable actresses for me in recent years and is carving out quite the filmography within the horror genre. Unfortunately, I found Nicholas Hoult to give surprisingly one of the weakest performances. I found Hoult's decision to play the character of Taylor the way he did to lack any form of authenticity. This was rather disappointing to me as I've known Hoult to be exceptional in the past. 'The Menu' is quite the visual delight, delivering beyond all expectation, with excellent storytelling and fantastic character development throughout. If I had to criticise this film for anything other than the slightly underwhelming performance from Hoult, I would have to say that I found the ending to be rather lackluster. And that's not to say it's not a satisfying ending, just the gore hound in me was seeking something more bloodthirsty, given the culinary plot line. Overall though, 'The Menu' gave me everything I wanted from it and more.


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