In Mark Mylod’s ‘The Menu’ Foodie Dreams Become a Nightmare

Synopsis: A young couple travels to a remote island to eat at an exclusive restaurant where the chef has prepared a lavish menu with shocking surprises.
Director: Mark Mylod
Stars: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Fiennes, Nicholas Hoult

Director Mark Mylod is probably best known for his work in television on Entourage, Game of Thrones, and Succession. He has been nominated multiple times and has a couple of Emmy Awards on his mantle, but he is best known for his television work. It’s been over ten years since his last theatrical directorial effort—it was well worth the wait.

He might have been waiting for the right script, and fortunately, Seth Reiss and Will Tracy delivered. The Menu tells the tale of a group of people, unknown to each other, who decide to take part in a destination dining experience at a lavish location called Hawthorne. Every detail at Hawthorne is so meticulously crafted. This is not a place to go for a quick meal but for a unique dining experience that is one-of-a-kind and comes with a $1,250 price tag.

Hawthorn is a foodie’s dream come true. This isn’t a meal to be rushed but to be savoured, and as a culinary enthusiast, I am sure a place like Hawthorne would be right up my alley.

All the staff follows the instruction of one person, Chef (Ralph Fiennes). They hang on to his every word and come to attention when he brings his hands together. The staff aren’t the only ones impressed with Chef; Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) is a foodie and a big fan of Chef. This is the moment he has dreamed of, being in Chefs presence. Upon his arrival, his fanboying is almost out of control.

His date Margot (Taylor-Joy), is less impressed. She doesn’t seem to understand the fuss, but she’s along for the ride. She might as well be dressed in a clown outfit as her date doesn’t seem to pay much attention to her; it’s all about being at Hawthorne and being near Chef.

The other guests include a former movie star (John Leguizamo), a food critic (Janet McTeer), and some business partners. This is a very entitled group. These people usually say things like, ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ as they flex and throw their privilege around.

All these guests have converged for a unique dining experience, but they are about to get so much more. Chef is known for telling stories with his meals, and he’s about to embark on a very interesting night with his guests. The guests think they are simply going to experience some fine cuisine, but they have no idea.

The Menu is a fresh dark comedy that just hits; it’s extremely entertaining. Fiennes does magnificent work in the lead role, but Anya Taylor-Joy also continues to display her fantastic acting as well. As the foremost skeptic at this dinner, she seems to be the only character who is not overly impressed with Chef.

The film is as well crafted as the menu is prepared. I truly enjoyed the originality of this film. We often see movies and feel what they are repackaged or regurgitated, but not here; this is unique.

The Menu is a delicious piece of film, and I strongly recommend it.

Grade: B+

Watch the movie trailer: