The Dinner combines sophisticated cuisine with a stale burger patty in this adaptation of Herman Koch's bestselling novel of the same name.
A dinner is arranged at an exclusive restaurant by congressman Stan Lohman (Richard Gere) to discuss a few "salient" family issues. Stan and his wife Katelyn (Rebecca Hall) are joined by Stan's pessimistically difficult brother Paul (Steve Coogan) and his long-suffering wife Claire (Laura Linney).
There's an elephant in the room that requires urgent attention - their sons have been implicated in a heinous act of violence resulting in the death of a homeless woman. With careers on the line and family wounds bubbling to the surface, the Lohmans squabble and argue about how far they are prepared to go to protect the children they love.
The film has a stage-like quality that's exemplified by the decision to separate the film into five acts; each represented as a different course lovingly introduced in exquisitely pretentious detail by the waiter.
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Director Oren Moverman (Love & Mercy) further complicates matters by explaining the Lohman's tortured back story with flashbacks inserted throughout the five courses, which serve only to bloat and confuse a film already ripe with complications.
Despite the top-shelf cast, The Dinner fails to deliver, getting bogged down in moral ambiguities rather than the dark satire and cynical focus that the book intended.
Cast: Richard Gere, Steve Coogan, Laura Linney
Director: Oren Moverman
Running time: 121 mins
Rating: M (offensive language)
Verdict: A tasty morsel for some, but most will send it back to the kitchen.