Welcome to Right on Cue, the podcast where we interview film, TV, and video game composers about the origins and nuances of their latest works.
It’s hard to think of a more overt lens through which to satirize the divisions of class more than through food: Fast food vs. haute cuisine, Michelin stars over star-shaped chicken nuggets. Mark Mylod‘s The Menu is a sizzling satire of the snootiness of fine dining, and the class conflicts it unfurls.
Set on a remote island that’s home to one of the most exclusive restaurants in the world, The Menu treats us to a multi-course prix fixe of mayhem centered around high-profile chef Julian Slowik (a beautifully ostentatious Ralph Fiennes). But as the eclectic group of well-off diners samples one conceptually-minded meal after another, it becomes clear there’s more than meets the eye for Chef Slowick’s menu.
Accompanying each course of the menu Mylod, his cast, and screenwriters Seth Reiss and Will Tracy have set out for us is a cheekily propulsive score courtesy of Hereditary composer Colin Stetson. He lays out ornate soundscapes and unusual instruments (glasses played with chopsticks, pans as percussion) with the same perverse mirth as Fiennes’ devilish chef, granting each course, and each sick joke on Chef Slowik’s guests, a unique voice. And all throughout it lays an arch counterpoint to the kind of chamber-music regalness we aesthetically associate with fine dining filmmaking like Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Chef’s Table.
It’s a pleasure to welcome Colin Stetson to the podcast to talk about disrupting the expectations of fine-dining musicality, his sax-forward approach to scoring, and building the shocking sounds of The Menu one course at a time.
You can find Colin Stetson at his official website here.
The Menu is currently playing in theaters. You can also listen to the score on your preferred music streaming service courtesy of Milan Records.