“The Menu” is Deliciously Thrilling


Leo Field, Correspondent

The Menu, a new satirical black comedy thriller movie, was released in theaters across the United States a few weeks ago. 

The Menu is a movie that is bizarre yet succinct, comedic yet horrifying, and entertaining yet thought-provoking. It centers around a couple, Tyler and Margot (portrayed by Nicholas Hoult and Anya Taylor-Joy respectively), who visit a restaurant on a private island, where the restaurant’s Chef Slowik (played by Ralph Fiennes) prepares an elaborate menu for them and the other guests. As they follow along the multiple courses of the meal, Margot takes notice of some shady happenings in the kitchen while Tyler stays oblivious. Eventually, Margot finds herself face-to-face with the villainous Slowik as the menu reveals its true purpose.

I’ll get this out of the way by saying that The Menu is great. More than that, it’s superb. The movie was able to delicately balance thrills with comedy with satire and much of this success is owed to the incredible acting performances. Anya Taylor-Joy, known for her fantastic performances in movies like Split and TV shows like The Queen’s Gambit, delivers a profound and memorable rendition of the character Margot. She perfectly displays the sheer terror and resourcefulness that any audience member would possess in her character’s shoes.

The standout performance, however, is undoubtedly Ralph Fiennes, who steals the show as the villainous Chef Julian Slowik. Fiennes loses himself in the character in the best way possible, embodying Slowik’s power over others and taking control of every scene he is in. With this performance as well as his renditions of Voldemort in the Harry Potter franchise and Amon Göth in Schindler’s List, Fiennes surely takes his place as one of the greatest villainous actors of all time.

Another highlight of The Menu would be the way it was able to balance tone. Although it presents itself as a thriller and even a horror movie, I would say that the movie is a comedy at its core. It is able to laugh at its own absurdity and make fun of its characters while simultaneously using horror tactics to keep your eyes glued to the screen. For example, there are certain scenes packed with action, violence, or horror that really shock you and make you think the film is going in one direction. And then, out of nowhere, the mood will completely switch to light and comedic. This is done in such a masterful way that you can’t do anything but stare in awe at your screen and appreciate the talent that goes into making a film like this.

On top of being an entertaining horror-comedy, The Menu is also a satirical film that explores the hypocrisy behind foodie culture. The antagonist, Chef Sloane, represents the modern food industry that is built on appeal and spectacle over substance. Tyler represents the oblivious public who will eat up whatever is fancy or popular. The rest of the guests each represent members of high-class society who only enjoy fine dining for the symbol of status it holds while not appreciating the food itself. And finally, Margot represents the average person who sees through the façade of foodie culture and values good food above fancy restaurants and silverware.

All in all, The Menu really is a modern-day masterpiece. It checks all the boxes that you would want a movie to check. It’s a genre-crossing, entertaining, thought-provoking, well-acted, well-directed film. Although, despite all of these features, it likely won’t win big at award shows this season simply due to the fact that it’s a lower-budget movie from a smaller studio. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for something new and exciting to watch, go check out The Menu.