Anya Taylor-Joy and Ralph Fiennes in The Menu.

Ralph Fiennes delivers some of his best work as an ultra-control-freak chef in The Menu, a caustic, funny stick in the eye to crazed foodies everywhere.

Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) is obsessed with Chef Slowik (Fiennes), so much so that he is willing to spend thousands of dollars to ship himself and date Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) to a remote island for an exclusive evening of dining at Chef Slowik’s quietly deranged restaurant.

The couple sits down with a has-been movie star (John Leguizamo), an older married couple (Judith Light and Reed Birney), a fufu food critic (Janet McTeer) and a few others for what is supposed to be the most incredible of culinary journeys.

The courses start out as a seemingly sly joke, with entrées of very little sustenance. As the evening progresses, it becomes clear that Chef Slowik and his staff are not in the best of moods—and they may have a bit of contempt for their demanding clientele. Slow-burning madness ensues.

The film is always good, but it is at its very best when Taylor-Joy and Fiennes are alone onscreen together. They have a meeting in the chef’s office that is one of the tensest, best-acted scenes of 2022. They are an acting match like no other. They will floor you.

Director Mark Mylod, along with writers Seth Reiss and Will Tracy, deliver biting social commentary with a nice dose of horror.

The film has some memorable villains and heroes; in a depraved way, it makes its villains almost sympathetic. It’s also a good movie for foodies to watch after taking in Hulu’s The Bear, this year’s other great foodie offering.

The Menu is playing at theaters across the valley.

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