Where do I start? The Menu, directed by Mark Mylod (who I will confess to being ignorant about) is delectable. Groan. I apologise in advance for any food-related puns over the course of this article.
What makes this film delicious (see?) is the intimate setting, and the intensity that burns behinds the eyes of Ralph Fiennes’ Chef Slowik. Fiennes offers us a slow-cooking portrayal of a man who has snapped, and had enough of the pretentious world that he lives in. Of course, he deals with this in the only way he knows how, by preparing and serving the very high-end cuisine that he feels has both made him a star, and destroyed his life. His final act is to develop a menu that is more art than food, which is sort of ironic, and a clever take on this strange environment of fancy, deconstructed menus.
What is the film trying to say? Well, it pokes fun at people who think they know a lot about any given subject. It mocks the armchair ‘experts’ who critique from the side-lines yet lack real world experience in the field they discuss. It also dares to question the haughty world of exotic, science-driven restaurants, and the nature of over-the-top presentation over actual, enjoyable, food. Slowik himself boldly says that he does not want his food to be eaten, but rather, tasted, yet come the end, he is reminded that if his guests are still hungry come the end, he has missed the point.
The film is quite savage, and does little to disguise its savagery, once it really gets into the psychological fear element of the tale. The F-bomb gets dropped a lot, which is not a criticism, but more of an observation. It is ultimately a tasty tale!