As The Menu, director Mark Mylod’s chilling send-up of the world of unique fantastic eating, hurtled towards its dramatic ending, one thing in my mind broke. After nearly two hours of being fully terrified — Ralph Fiennes is chilly and chilling as chef Julian Slowik, an egomaniac pushed to violence by his obsession with culinary perfection at his restaurant Hawthorne — I began laughing uncontrollably. (Observe: Main spoilers for the ending forward.)
Lastly, after torturing his company and letting the lady he sexually harassed stab him within the leg, chef Julian’s imaginative and prescient turns into painfully humorous. As his diners watch on in horror, kitchen staffers artfully scatter the restaurant’s eating room with graham cracker crumbs and numerous sauces. After which, Julian lights the restaurant on hearth because the diners flip themselves into human s’mores. Sure, s’mores. They willingly don marshmallows and pour chocolate over their heads, and the entire thing goes up in flames. After I first realized what was taking place, I felt like I lastly understood what The Menu was about. And now, I’ll try to unpack the twist ending of The Menu and why it truly by some means truly works.
Why do the diners within the movie willingly do that to themselves?
The pure chaos of this scene — who amongst us doesn’t need to watch John Leguizamo and Judith Mild flip themselves into s’mores — is coupled with the absurdity that the diners are all however willingly collaborating in their very own deaths. Collectively, the diners trapped at Hawthorne by no means actually attempt to struggle again in opposition to chef Julian or escape the island. After just a few mealy-mouthed protests firstly of the meal, principally of the “are you aware who I’m?” selection, they settle for their fates.
It appears as if the characters — all wealthy individuals who’ve hardly ever skilled discomfort of their lives — simply play alongside as a result of they merely can’t fathom what’s taking place to them. They’re automatons, shifting from one plush expertise to the following, and chef Julian’s plot has, primarily, prompted them to glitch.
What’s the movie making an attempt to say by turning everybody into human s’mores?
After years of serving rich, privileged individuals, Julian would need to get again at them in an particularly humiliating method: And is there something extra humiliating than being pressured to organize your physique for consumption? After watching these characters behave within the restaurant and studying about their indiscretions outdoors of it, The Menu encourages us to root for his or her demise. When you’re pondering, “Wow, he actually is popping these assholes into s’mores,” you’re additionally sort of excited to see what occurs subsequent. That looks as if a fairly apparent consequence of residing in a world the place just a few individuals will pay $1,000 for dinner at a spot like Hawthorne, whereas numerous others wonder if they’ll have any dinner in any respect.
The place the hell does an thought like this come from?
In line with Mylod, the dish itself an emulation of chef Grant Achatz’s legendary tabletop dessert at Alinea (which, for the file, doesn’t contain any self-immolation). “After I joined the venture, one of many huge issues I wished to vary in regards to the script was to have this extra operatic ending,” Mylod instructed Eater. “We wished to finish this meal with a bang, and so we did a whole lot of analysis on find out how to make the specifics of the dessert components work.”
Okay, however why s’mores and never like, a baked Alaska?
This looks as if an explicitly sensible alternative. It appears rather more troublesome to coat individuals in ice cream and meringue than it does to easily ask them to placed on marshmallow fits and pour sweets over their heads. Realistically, although, it’s in all probability a send-up of meals snobs who suppose that s’mores suck.
Does this twist truly… work?
It’s actually sudden!!! For 2 complete hours, you’ve actually no thought how this dinner goes to finish. There are factors the place you nearly get the sense that Margot — who’s revealed to be a intercourse employee and never a member of the higher crust like the remainder of the diners — may be the hero and work out find out how to save everybody. In a extra conventional horror flick, you would possibly count on for every diner to be murdered ultimately that’s straight associated to their dangerous conduct — possibly the tech bros get killed by a pc or the philandering politician is offed by a mistress. However chef Julian’s determination to host a large human bonfire feels each appropriately cinematic, and appropriately restaurant-y. Doesn’t each chef need to finish the night with an ideal dessert?
What’s the take care of Margot’s burger?
Earlier than she escapes the island on a ship, Margot asks chef Julian to make a cheeseburger for her, giving the viewers one tiny glimpse of the human behind the monster. Julian smiles, and permits Margot to depart. She boards the boat with a doggy bag containing half of that cheeseburger, and the very last thing we see is Margot taking a giant chew of the burger as she watches Hawthorne burn to the bottom from a protected distance away. However she does hear a faint clap identical to chef Julian’s as she bites into the burger, which might point out that he’s completed one thing sinister to her survival snack.