The Menu serves up some amazing performances

Phia Huebner, Editor

My fervent love for cooking shows such as Top Chef and Cutthroat Kitchen poorly prepared me for the food, or lack thereof served in The Menu. With each course served came a new mystery and a new dark twist. 

The film opens with a young couple boarding a yacht to travel to a highly exclusive restaurant on a distant island called Hawthorne. The restaurant only holds 12 esteemed guests at one time which makes for a very personal meal, with each dish being introduced by the chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) himself. 

Margo (Anya Taylor-Joy) does not share the same obsessive passion for food as her date, Tyler (Nicholas Hoult), but she does her best to support him as he snaps a photo of every dish. The character of Tyler reminds me of the phrase “phone eats first.” Unfortunately, the luxurious night for the foodie and his date takes a drastic turn as each course becomes increasingly unconventional…and violent. 

This movie held my attention throughout and was always ready with another shocking moment that knocked my socks off. There was never a dull moment. Although the gore is brief, it is incredibly intense and unexpected, so be prepared. In between these random bouts of violence, I laughed almost constantly. This film is incredibly funny but in a very specific way. I was the only one laughing in the theater, which was a little embarrassing, but I couldn’t help it. Every moment in this movie is planned to convey a specific message, and oftentimes it was satirical or straight-up outrageous.   

Besides leaving me awestruck, this movie also was incredibly thought-provoking. This entire film is a meticulously constructed puzzle that the characters and the audience try to figure out simultaneously. The goal of the diners is to understand the overarching theme of the menu, and we are put in the exact same place. Each course adds another layer to the riddle, and the final course reveals the story of the entire meal. 

This cast did not disappoint. There were amazing performances from all, but Anya Taylor-Joy as Margo and Ralph Fiennes as Chef Slowik stole the show. Playing incredibly complex characters, they were able to portray every minuscule emotion and intrusive thought that came into their character’s minds. 

Overall this movie was great and I highly recommend it. It presented an incredibly intricate plot in a simple, clean, and unique fashion. Although this movie does revolve around food, if you are looking to watch some simple cooking, I would stick to “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.”