“The Dinner”–A Movie Review   Leave a comment

Actors and movies constantly amaze, amuse and befuddle me. I know actors have no say about when their movies will appear in theatres but in the past week two of Richard Gere’s latest movies appeared at The Gateway Theatre and shows why he has been a major star for over 40 years. In the first movie “Norman” (see my review Wednesday, May 3) he plays a New York City ‘fixer’, schemer while in today’s film, “The Dinner” he is a Congressman running for Governor and he is completely two different men in appearance, acting and persona.

I really never know what to expect from a movie as I very seldom read reviews before I go see one and generally will pick a movie based on the cast and/or any vibes I picked up about it regarding genre and story. “The Dinner” has a major cast of Gere, Laura Linney, who I have never seen give a bad performance and, mostly, as she does in this film, gives an outstanding performance, Steve Coogan, a strong actor and Rebecca Hall who I had seen in a few movies and seemed to be waiting for that breakout role.

Gere, married to his second wife Hall, and Coogan, married to Linney, are brothers whose mother favored the former while the latter seems to have inherited the mental illness he has from her. Coogan and Linney have a teenage son Mike (Charlie Plummer) while Gere has had a son, Rick (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) whom he had with his first wife Chloe Sevigny and Gere and Hall have an adopted Black son which may or may not be a child Gere and his loyal aide, Adepero Oduye, had.

The two brothers and their wives are meeting in a very upper scale restaurant in a mansion where each course is explained as it is being served and you know that the cost would be prohibitive to 99% of the people. At the very beginning Coogan remarks about the cost of a bottle of wine being sinful. The purpose of the meeting finally comes to light and the questions the film wants to ask are that of how much will/would a parent do to protect their child, how much of an obligation do they have to their families and what should they do or not do.

Though “The Dinner” is based on a novel by Herman Koch it is almost as if the director/screenwriter Oren Moverman had taken a play and wanted to ‘open’ it up. Flashbacks to earlier years, to events that happened earlier in the evening, a trip to the Gettysburg battlefields, many voiceovers, to classroom scenes of Coogan, who was a teacher of history, plus the dinner itself blurs what should have been a linear telling instead of losing its focus.

Now as a man who loves food even the restaurant scenes become dull as they are all over the place as for different reasons the party of 4 is moved from room to room and the descriptions of the plates soon blend into each other.

Many times the direction by Moverman, the cinematography by Bobby Bukowski and the music by Elijah Brueggemann are disconcerting to what is taking place on the screen.

The acting of the cast in “The Dinner” is certainly consistently top rate and reasons enough to see the film plus I need someone to explain the ending to me!

 

“The Dinner” trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aUPksk2fjg

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