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'The Menu' is a deliciously nasty bit of business

Ralph Fiennes and Anya Taylor-Joy in "The Menu"
©Searchlight Pictures
Courtesy Everett Collection
Ralph Fiennes and Anya Taylor-Joy in "The Menu"

Just in time for Thanksgiving, we have The Menu, a deliciously nasty bit of business that, if nothing else, will make you grateful you are not the people in the movie.

We open with a small group of very rich people taking a boat to a secluded island where they’ll be served the meal of their lives by a celebrated chef. If you’re not already wondering what could be going on here, you haven’t seen very many movies. Add to this the fact that the chef is played by Ralph Fiennes, and that the whole situation seems just a bit more controlled than we might be comfortable with, and it’s pretty apparent we’re in for it. Or all the rich people are, anyway. One of the people is not a rich jerk, though, and that’s Anya Taylor-Joy, who’s at the meal sort of by happenstance, and she acts as our proxy as we see things slide out of control.

The Menu tickles us with what it does to these obnoxious powerful people, not a surprise given it’s written and directed by veterans of HBO’s Succession. But it does also feel like it can’t quite reach the lofty heights it could have, which is less a criticism than an acknowledgment of some untapped potential. Anya Taylor-Joy and Ralph Fiennes are, unsurprisingly, absolute gems, with Taylor-Joy being the only sane person in a pressure cooker of a room, and one shot of Fiennes in profile displaying the menace he can show just with his lower lip.

The Menu is not what you would call good family fun, but it could be fun to watch this Thanksgiving with a particularly perverse family. And boy, will it make you want a cheeseburger.

The Menu is in theaters November 18th

Fletcher Powell has worked at KMUW since 2009 as a producer, reporter, and host. He's been the host of All Things Considered since 2012 and KMUW's movie critic since 2016. Fletcher is a member of the Critics Choice Association.