Mark Mylod’s dark comedy horror is a delicious course of culinary talent and mystery. And although the film’s absurdity does, occasionally, fall to silliness – it still, nonetheless, maintains its satirical bite. Mylod’s innovative, quirky film is another tasty edition to the Disney Plus menu.
It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly this movie is. An eat the rich satire? A dark comedy about culinary pretension? A farfetched horror? It is, in fact, all of those things: a blend of flavours, if you will. Set in one location throughout, the genre-blend coupled with dazzling twists and turns makes the movie feel both exhausting, and claustrophobic. But this does, nonetheless, only add to the film’s sinister charm.
Tonally, Mylod’s film is both comedic, and harrowing. This can, at times, make you wonder where exactly the plot is heading. But this only draws viewers in further. With the bizarre mannerisms of Chef Slowik, and the hair-raising gaze of his catering staff, it’s certainly hard to look away. Although the film does, at times, teeter towards being a little little-farfetched (especially towards the end), Mylod, for the most part, manages to maintain the film’s equilibrium between realism and absurdity.
Anya Taylor-Joy plays a perfect Margot. Bewildered from the start, savvy by the end, audiences cannot help but root for her throughout. Nicholas Hoult plays professional ‘mansplainer’, Tyler — who is so infuriating, it makes you want to throw your laptop at the ceiling: a testament to his performance, I guess. Then there is the beloved Ralph Fiennes. Renowned for his villainous roles as Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter), Amon Goeth (Schindler’s List) and Francis Dolarhyde (Red Dragon), it seems only right that he take on the mantle of tormented Chef Slowik. Sinister through to the end, Fiennes’ gaze is enough to make milk curdle (and not in a nice, culinary way).
For a movie concerning itself with the quest for artistic perfection, in a manner akin to the likes of Black Swan (2010) or I, Tonya (2017), it’s no surprise that the cinematography is used in a way that reflects this. From beach panoramas, to close-ups of Slowik’s dishes, the film’s distinctly aesthetic quality mirrors the artistry in the kitchen. This was especially heightened by the repeated interruption of title cards reading ‘First dish’ with details of the food. At times, it felt like the film itself became part of this ‘Menu’ experience. As such, viewers couldn’t help but be drawn in further.
The Menu is a creepy, suspenseful dark comedy horror, that is certainly worth a watch. If not for the fantastic performance of Anya Taylor-Joy, or the creepy looks of Ralph Fiennes, then certainly for the eerie atmosphere and plot twists.
The Menu is now available to view on Disney+.
Featured image: Daniel Reche on Pexels.