Movie Review – Bitter Feast

A disgraced celebrity chef, Gray (James LeGros) kidnaps a food blogger, Franks (Joshua Leonard) who slammed him, forcing a regimen of torture and cooking lessons upon his victim. In writer-director Joe Maggio’s delightfully nasty Bitter Feast, there are two villains, with two outsize egos bruised in different ways. The film settles down to a simple series of mind-games between the chef and the blogger, each struggling to defend his own carefully cultivated persona.

Bitter Feast, which is a lot like the indie horror Saw, with a potential  slice of cleverness thrown in, turns out to be a rather compelling and unexpectedly provocative little horror story. The tale here is that of a famous chef who has recently fallen on hard times  and well, he snaps, basically, and after the loss of his television job, his swanky restaurant position, and all semblances of self-respect, he points his fury at the only logical scapegoat- the internet blogger who kept trashing the man’s work.

Actually what Gray cannot admit is that, thanks to his own lack of people skills , his show is canceled, his cookware contracts up in flames and his restaurant and his cooking skills, well they’ve been skewered to death by the immortal food critic, J.T. Franks, blogger of Gastropunks. And of course, Grey blames Franks for everything as he couldn’t possibly be the cause of his own misfortune. Franks is another piece of work. Domineering, narcissistic and also pompous and arrogant, he suffers with delusions of grandeur about himself, his own self-perceived superiority and his opinions. He is right and everyone else is wrong. And he doesn’t give a damn about anyone else in the world except himself. Between Franks and Grey they should open up their own exclusive club for the egomaniacal. Gray then kidnaps Frank to teach him a lesson on what true food or cuisine is and in the process, the torture keeps getting a little worse with each passing day.

Sound familar to you and me? It should! The blog is mighty and how many restaurants have come under the lashings of the blogger that we know of. Throw a stone and you hit somebody. A blogger that is.

I liked the storyline initially because it depicted something close to home. Being a food blogger, this movie really got my attention. I could totally identify with the blogger. Unfortunately the ending can only be summarized in one word. Lame. A fantastic build up with an anti-climatic ending was not what I was expecting or looking forward to. The only moral of the story here is a lesson for food bloggers. Write what you must, but exercise restraint. Say what you have to, but without totally destroying the reputation of a Chef or a restaurant. There will be consequences to pay. (Phew, Aren’t we glad that life does not ever pan out like a horror flick? .. or does it:P )

Recently, Malaysian’s newspapers and the blogging industry have been a buzz with a controversial piece of news. A popular Indian cuisine restaurant in Sabah, as recommended by travel guide Lonely Planet, is suing a blogger and Google for defamation. Jothy’s Fish Head Curry restaurant director Tharumaraj Sivaperumal filed a RM6mil civil suit at the Kota Kinabalu High Court on Monday against a Malaysian blogger, for saying that the food at the restaurant was unpalatable. Do you think that a situation like this could have been avoided if tact and blogging went hand in hand?

Comments

  1. Sounds like a very interesting movie… I think I want to watch it although it’s a horror movie!

  2. Very interesting… especially given the recent hoopla in the news. Maybe not just tact but some degree of grace would have been recommended? Though, I must admit, sometimes the temptation to rant and rant is irresistible… but perhaps a very public blog is not the best place for it. (And yet another part of me demands freedom of expression for everyone… yet at what price?)

    Oh, the debate continues…

  3. It is actually very sad about the Jothy’s case. wonder how will be the ending like. :/

  4. What apt timing! Hmm blood, gore and a serving of fine cuisine? Stranger things have been thrown together in a movie, I suppose!

  5. “Jothy’s Fish Head Curry restaurant director Tharumaraj Sivaperumal filed a RM6mil civil suit at the Kota Kinabalu High Court on Monday against a Malaysian blogger, for saying that the food at the restaurant was unpalatable”

    Tell me more …

    Damn, I hate the idea of Fish head anything so the chances of me going there are slim anyway. I bet it’s seriously over priced anyway. (let me know)

    Would be happy to go seek em out :)

  6. OMG this film is so timely! It sounds like a critique of bloggers AND the restaurant industry. Did you gather a group of food bloggers together to watch it? You’ve peaked my curiosity, although after hearing ending is lame I’ll probably wait for it to come out on Netflix. Hope the film companies don’t start suing bloggers for negative reviews ;)

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