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Dinner, The


Stars: Steve Coogan, Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Rebecca Hall, Charlie Plummer

Director: Oren Moverman

A gruelling talkathon with lots of shouting, as two brothers meet at a posh restaurant to discuss horrific events of which one brother is unaware.

That's Paul (Coogan, with a good American accent but an impossible character), an aggressively rude, all round pain in the butt. With a history of mental illness in the family, Paul is 'off his meds' and some, might say, off his rocker.

No wonder his wife (an excellent Linney), lately recovered from cancer, hasn't told him that their equally unbalanced son Michael (Plummer) has recently burnt a homeless woman to death.

This, after insults have been flung across the table, is what the dinner is all about, as Paul's brother (Gere), a senator, whose own son was also involved, proposes that the boys should be made to pay for their crime.

The restaurant itself is described as 'like being in France' ('During the German occupation, maybe,' mutters Paul) and the writer/director has a little fun with its ridiculously pretentious menu - 'we start with a garden of young vegetables,' trills the waiter, while a later course is 'sprinkled with a burnt pumpernickel soil', but the film wears out its welcome long before the warring quartet do the same at the restaurant.

After a screenplay that's like Woody Allen at his most boring, the film suddenly ends in the middle of a scene, but at least it ends. There are supposedly 32 songs on the soundtrack (really?) and the film is dedicated to 128 different people: they're welcome to it.

David Quinlan

USA 2016. UK Distributor: Vertigo. Colour (unspecified).
120 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 04 Dec 2017