Movie ReviewsThe Dinner – An Insufferable Mess

Keith NoakesMay 6, 2017

I knew nothing about this film going in and whenever that happens, I look at the cast. This film boasts an impressive cast but that only goes so far.

Synopsis: Two estranged brothers and their wives meet at a restaurant to discuss a grotesque crime committed by their sons. With their involvement still a secret, they must decide how far they’ll go to protect the ones they love. (The Orchard)

Starring: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, and Steve Coogan

Writer: Owen Moverman

Director: Owen Moverman

Rating: R

Running Time: 120mins


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In a film about a pair of adults (Gere, Linney, Coogan, and Rebecca Hall) meeting each other at a restaurant to talk about a heinous crime that was committed by their kids and what to do about it, there was a surprising amount of other stuff going on seeing that this concept alone doesn’t quite lend to a whole film. This other stuff was used to break up the main narrative but it simply made things unnecessarily convoluted and all the other subplots, feeling like different films altogether, went nowhere and ultimately made the story more confusing than it needed to be since they had nothing to with the main plot. It was almost like throwing anything at the wall to see what stuck. The pacing and the editing were all over the place so the film never flowed.

With a running time of 2 hours, the film would have been better served with at least 1/4 of it cut. It also wasn’t clear as to what was going on until at least halfway through but by then it was too late. The film tried to speak to such issues as white privilege and entitlement but that message kind of got lost in the shuffle as it was a chore to watch because of the problems previously mentioned and the fact that the characters were just so unlikable. Sure, they were caricatures that justified the film’s message but they were all insufferable to watch. This made it difficult to care about any of them and their respective points of view.

As the film’s subject matter was dark, so was the film, using a primarily dark color pallette during present scenes. This did not help to make it any more engaging and had more of an opposite effect. As a result of the film’s over reliance on irrelevant subplots, the main conflict was underdeveloped which took away some much needed context for the proceedings. The characters were insufferable and so was the dialog that, along with the rest of the film, reeked of pretentiousness. Despite the writing, the acting way okay for the most part but it didn’t matter. No amount of acting would ever make these characters remotely likable.

Overall, this was a boring, convoluted, and overlong film that was pretentious in every aspect that never succeeded with its message and became very tedious to watch thanks to its insufferable characters and messy story. This is definitely one of the worst films of the year.

Score: 3/10

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  • Kim @ Tranquil Dreams

    May 6, 2017 at 11:52 AM

    Sad but unfortunately expected. The Dinner is a great book with a ton of suspense and written so well but just like Gone Girl who was lucky to get David Fincher, this story needs a talented director to be able to interpret it well on screen or else its just a whole lot of nothing. Guess, I’ll be waiting for this one to hit Netflix or something before I see it. Great review!

  • MovieManJackson

    May 8, 2017 at 9:26 AM

    Well said. We were the unfortunate souls who watched this lol.

    • screenzealots

      May 12, 2017 at 2:21 AM

      I actually really liked it! But then again, I tend to dig movies that make me uncomfortably squirm in my seat.

      • Keith Noakes

        May 12, 2017 at 2:22 AM

        I wanted to but I just couldn’t.

      • screenzealots

        May 12, 2017 at 2:27 AM

        Now, I haven’t read the book so maybe that would’ve changed my perceptions. I’m going to dig into the novel this weekend.

      • Keith Noakes

        May 12, 2017 at 2:28 AM

        I’ve been told that it’s better than the movie.

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