2022. R. 107 mins. Directed by Mark Mylod
The Menu follows Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) and Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) as they travel to a remote island for the ultimate dining experience. Chef Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) has one of the best restaurants in the world and an experience at his place is like no other. Along with Tyler and Margot are ten other diners who can't wait to experience this fine dining establishment. A lavish menu has been prepared along with some shocking surprises as the night progresses.
A good satire is usually hard to come by. Most of the time the tone either gets played too seriously and you miss out on the laughs, or they try way too hard to be humorous and it falls flat on its face. With The Menu, director Mark Mylod is able to walk the line between comedy and horror in fantastic fashion. While certain parts do get outlandish and over the top Mylod is able to reel in his cast and have them not only provide many laughs throughout but also play up the more serious parts to give you a perfect balance.
There are plenty of great jabs at people who claim to be "foodies" and the restaurant industry as a whole. Chef Slowik is played like a version of Gordon Ramsey who is willing to take things to extreme heights and it's a great commentary on overzealous chefs in the industry who take their craft a little too seriously. Then you have a character like Tyler who is that annoying person at the table that thinks they know everything about food and tries to impress everybody with their knowledge while simultaneously posting pictures of their meals to their Instagram page. Mylod does a great job providing that commentary and not only pokes fun at the industry but also is able to showcase it in a way that can make you appreciate fine dining.
Everyone here does a fantastic job in their roles. While a lot of the characters are unlikeable the cast has enough charm and charisma to still make you care about what happens to them. Nicholas Hoult is going outside of his normal wheelhouse with the character of Tyler. This is the first character of his that is outright unlikeable, and you can tell he's having a good time because the performance is great. Ralph Fiennes is always great in essentially everything he's ever been in, and this is no different. He puts in another great performance to add to his résumé. A large weight of this movie falls on the back of Anya Taylor-Joy and this is arguably one of her best performances to date. She flows through this movie effortlessly and ends up being one of the best parts. Character actors such as Hong Chau, John Leguizamo, Janet McTeer and many others all do well in their supporting roles rounding out this great cast.
In the end, The Menu provides some of the best entertainment of the year. It does a great job giving you a perfect balance of comedy and horror. There isn't a moment where the movie stalls out, once it gets going it moves at a smooth pace and never lets up. The cast is all fantastic with Fiennes and Taylor-Joy being the standouts. This is one of the best movies of 2022 and it gets a full recommendation.