Beth (Victoria Neugent) and Mark (Ross Magyar) are going to their friends, Dave (Mike Jimerson) and Irene (Amrita Dhaliwal) for dinner. They find their friends quite pretentious as Irene is a budding writer who has had no personal experiences of the things that she writes about and Dave is a self-proclaimed master chef who had promised to make them an exquisite meal.
Then more guests arrive and personalities clash as things start to get out of hand. There’s also the question of what Dave is really cooking for dinner.
An Exquisite Meal is a satirical horror comedy about people whose pretentions elude themselves when they are around other people. It becomes clear quite quickly how Dave and Irene are presenting themselves as the perfect couple. However, over the course of an hour, writer/director Robert Bruce Carter shows that Beth and Mark are just as susceptible to showing themselves up for who they really are.
The film is like watching a dinner party that you weren’t invited to and the comedy comes between the awkward moments that people often have when they reveal a little too much of themselves. There are also some very funny observational moments littered around the script which bring out the nuances of the characters and may remind the audience of the characters in Knives Out.
However, there is a lot that it seems that Carter wants to say in his script and unfortunately, he may have given himself too little time in which to do it. Cut into chapters and seemingly written in parts to show the different sides of his cast of characters, Carter highlights the audacious and the absurd side of people who barely know each other. Although in doing so it may reveal the pretentions in the director himself.
This becomes evident as although An Exquisite Meal is set up to perfectly lampoon its guests and to discuss how these people are in the real world, the real message stays buried. This means that Carter may have run out of time or didn’t really know what to say.
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