THE OSCAR PROJECT
The Menu finally hit streaming recently and with an underperforming box office run, it's found a bigger fanbase with the ease of access. Buzz online has grown for this film and usually when this happens before I see a film, I sigh. I try not to attach myself to online fandom and anticipation for a movie because the excitement a lot of the time feels grander than the movie itself and the eventual viewing can be underwhelming.
This did not happen in this case.
As much as it pains me to admit it, the internet was right. This film is as exquisite as the food it flaunts. The cold atmosphere of the cinematography courses through the runtime long before the film turns into a thriller. There's a constant essence of awe but also caution, a chill of tension playing the bass under the symphony of amazement and stellar casting. Every single aperture of this cast is filled with someone so perfectly selected that actors stop playing characters and real people are forged. There is little to no exposition on each character's backstory. We learn who they are, what they do, and why they're here all from subtext and sapient acting that create believable personalities in limited characters. There isn't a flaw in the casting but there are stand outs, notably the obvious in Anya Taylor-Joy (Margot Mills) and Ralph Fiennes (Chef Slowik) who we've come to expect nothing but stellar performances from.
The main problem with The Menu is that it's predictable without having the courtesy of being nimble. It slowly drags out sequences which don't raise much tension and leave too much to be desired in terms of thrilling content. The only thing that saves these scenes are the fantastic monologues performed by Fiennes who's occasionally accompanied by one of the great side characters.
I don't want to sound awful about this film because I truly did enjoy the experience. Though the pace was steady, the long, drawn out segments that lead to a predictable conclusion hurt an experience that is otherwise excellent. The story isn't incredible, the characters are slightly underdeveloped and mostly shallow, but the character work from the actors truly make this film a really exciting and fun time despite the rest of the flaws.
Fine enough premise, gorgeous presentation and lovely, though unconventional, final girl ending.
Would eat again.
7 out of 10