Exorbitant wealth, strange food, and deadly situations; these factors unite the 2022 films Triangle of Sadness and The Menu. For all of their similarities — unlikeable characters, absurd plots, and commentaries on the elite — it’s no wonder that they’ve been so frequently compared and contrasted since their release.
So let's reflect on these films and determining once and for all which story screams “eat the rich!” the loudest.
Triangle of Sadness (2022) dir. Ruben Östlund
This satirical black comedy directed by Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund follows two models, Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charbli Dean), as they board a luxurious cruise for a deadly, Instagrammable adventure they’ll never forget. This film is structured in three parts, making its whopping two-and-a-half-hour runtime a little more manageable to sit through.
From a storm-ridden cruise ship full of vomiting passengers to a wild “deserted” island peppered with desperate survivors high on what little power they have left, this film has its fair share of dramatic scenes, allowing its jam-packed plot to remain memorable.
While I was engaged with the film for most of its run-time, the third act really lost me. Its off-the-rails tone shift and ambiguous ending just left me scratching my head in confusion. I also felt — even while watching and especially in hindsight — that the film’s critique of the wealthy is a little too on-the-nose (there’s a scene where the captain and a passenger drunkenly debate the merits of capitalism versus communism, for God’s sake!).
While I engaged with the film’s messaging (and, ultimately, gave it a generous 4 stars), its disdain for the rich felt forced and almost pointless by the end, leaving me to award the title of “Superior Eat the Rich Film” to none other than…
The Menu (2022) dir. Mark Mylod
This comedy horror directed by British filmmaker Mark Mylod follows foodie Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) and his date Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) as they travel to a coastal island for an exclusive dining experience hosted by mysterious celebrity chef Julian Slowick (Ralph Fiennes).
From creatively-scandalous dishes to main courses that kill, this story — contained within one setting (the island) and a more-than-sensible runtime (1 hour and 47 minutes) — has it all. Between the betrayals, high stakes, and Anya Taylor-Joy’s gorgeous face, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the screen! And, just when there seems to be no escape for our daring female protagonist, the film swoops in with one last twist, saving Margot from a fiery end — and allowing her to enjoy a nice cheeseburger instead.
Equal parts horror and comedy, The Menu does its very best to scare and amuse you — by the end, both my little sister and I were howling in delight. This film is not only a great time, but also a unique commentary on elitism within the food industry. Needless to say, it has earned its title of “Superior Eat the Rich Film” and I highly recommend you give it a watch (and even if you have, give it another one).