“The List” – Review of Theatrical Release – Film review plus online magazine for film, film and television

Netflix documentaries like “Chef’s Table” have brought the world of fine dining into the living rooms of cooking enthusiasts on a fairly reasonable budget. And even if the democratization of elitist discrimination progresses, there is still the danger of pretentious descriptions lurking in the gourmet half of the world, with self-proclaimed “foodies” whining about levels of taste and mouth feel. It is precisely this decadence in the restaurant world that director Marc Millhaud’s new film, “The Menu”, pokes fun at. In the cinema you can since 17.11. Make sure it tastes good.

Written by Natasha Jurassic

Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) attends a fabulous evening of dining on a remote island with her rich, food-loving boyfriend, Tyler, to which only a small group of guests with very full wallets are invited. While the rest of the audience is initially amused by Chef Sloick’s (Ralph Fiennes) stripped-down presentation, only the more down-to-earth Margot notices something is wrong with the menu and no amount of money in the world can guarantee that she will return to the island and leave the Hawthorne restaurant unscathed.

Similar to—but not exactly—this year’s Palme d’Ort winner, Triangle of Sadness, The Menu is a satire aimed at upper-class society; However, Mylod adds elements to his work that clearly make it a thriller that dips into the horror genre at times. The decisive element is not subtle, but does not preach its views in an overbearing manner, but deliberately uses exaggeration to emphasize humorous effect. Thus, the ideological plane never diverts focus from the actual plot, but forms a solid framework for it. Some cinematic weaknesses can’t always be masked with arbitrary moral terms that depend on audience sentiment, but “The List” usually doesn’t need to.

The screenplay by Seth Reese and Will Tracy has a solid structure, rich in interesting dialogue and subtle humor, and is well executed by Melhaud. The aesthetics of the world of fine dining are exquisitely displayed on screen, each course visually interesting without being actually appetizing, and the food’s exquisite thoughtfulness satirizes superlative excess without veering toward parody. Rich Diner’s characters, while clearly cartoonish archetypes, serve their purpose in an entertaining and believable way. The characters of Taylor-Joy and Fiennes – excellently embodied by both actors – offer just enough variety for the rest of the cast: Chef Slowik’s eccentricity can be felt as realistic and the paradoxical mix of dark unpredictability and genuine honesty about his motives builds tension every time Fiennes enters the picture. This contrasts with Margot’s self-assured acting, who gives the film a touch of realism without which the story would lose touch with the audience and which contrasts with the fact that it doesn’t quite belong in the realm of the super-rich. .

Finally, thanks to the interplay of these two complex characters, the ending, which could be very pathetic, works. It’s not entirely clear if “The Menu” is somewhat typical of Hollywood in terms of sentimentality or if it is just making fun of these melodramas. At this point, displaying intent would have been less accurate. There is also a small problem with the narrative turning point, because the revelation that the guests are in real danger comes very early in the course of the story and has to be moved to a later point in the second act in order to hold the viewer’s attention throughout. This is not to say that the film leads to boredom – the ironic tone, especially Ralph Fiennes, does not allow for this.

conclusion

Anyone who tends to avoid socially critical content in cinema – no matter how fantastic – should do the same with The List. But then you’re missing out on an excellent satirical thriller, which is not only created in an original way, but visually flawless as well. Despite minor flaws, Marc Millhaud’s latest project can only be warmly recommended to an interested audience.

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Rating: 8 out of 10.

(80/100)

Photo: © 2022 20th Century Studios / Eric Zachanowich / Searchlight Pictures

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