“The Menu”: A Tasteful, Hilarious Commentary on Consumerism

Goofy and Traumatizing, there’s something on the menu for everyone.


Photo IMDb

Grace Shafer, Staff Writer

Stepping out of the shadows of adequate British television numbers, Mark Mylod serves us the appetizing treat that is “The Menu.” Starring Ralph Fiennes and Anya Taylor-Joy, this film follows a group of elitist socialites (of all breeds) who have been personally invited by the Master Chef, the devil himself: Gordon Ramsay. Just kidding, he does a lot more than curse at his staff.

Now is when I take the time to applaud the god of evil and antagonist of this film, Fiennes, who plays Chef Slowik. For those of you who are not familiar with him maybe you’ve heard his other alias: “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.” His presence in any role is overwhelming, but his performance in this particular role gutted me. Every twitch, every wince that man makes on screen, the hairs on my arm stick up. This and the jarring tension and violence support the “horror” title of this movie. But what I haven’t talked about, is it being a comedy.

I was getting embarrassed in the theater for how loud some of these scenes had me cackling. Normally, black humor isn’t inherently funny to me, but these “jokes” crept up on me, leaving me baffled in the most random parts. If I were to critique the humor in any way, I would just say maybe include more jokes at the expense of the chef at least from Anya Taylor-Joy’s character.

“The Menu” is a scathing critique of society. It builds characters and complexes and is constantly dropping hints to parallel life and the idiocracy of people in general. But seeing that most of the characters are pompous highbrows, Mylod always leaves a measurable distance between them and total emotion. Even when their life is on the line, they find ways to be their little social-climbing selves.

I think one of my favorite scenes in the whole movie is the character who stays illusioned to the horror of the kitchen, having to decide to be amongst the consumers (the attendees), or the providers (the staff). Mylod is just shoving the unsavory effects of consumerism down the viewer’s throat throughout the film in at first a gentle subtleness to a violent overload. This progression was absolutely thrilling to watch.

Being a black comedy, I expected senseless and gratuitous violence. However, I can arguably say its effect on the viewer is far from mindless. I definitely think this movie is worth your time and possibly a couple of rewatches. Mylod did a wonderful job at exploring all of the extremely comical angles of consumerism and elitism while maintaining a lingering and sometimes brutal creepiness the entire time.