When there's dinner, there's drama -- especially when it's amongst family. That is exactly what director Oren Moverman had in mind with his latest film, THE DINNER, adapted from Herman Koch's novel of the same name.
The Lohmans are not the type of family to get together for dinner -- there is too much tension between Paul (Steve Coogan), a history professor struggling with mental illness and with a strong propensity for racism, and his brother, Stan (Richard Gere), who is currently running for governor and can't seem to pull himself away from his work for two seconds. When Stan and his wife, Katelyn (Rebecca Hall), invite Paul and his wife, Claire (Laura Linney), to dine at a local fancy restaurant, Paul can see right through the thinly veiled request and knows that something is up.
He is right -- it seems there is a problem with the two families' sons: Paul and Claire's son, Michael (Charlie Plummer) and Stan's sons, Rick and Beau, have been up to their own mischief -- a deed done in the night without much thought, now coming back to haunt them. As the dinner goes on, and they attempt to devise a plan to deal with their offspring's situation, the tensions rise.
With Paul's off-kilter, sometimes jumbled narration adding a brooding filter to the story, THE DINNER will certainly leave you feeling uncomfortable. The film reveals snippets of likeable traits paired with despicable traits in each character, pulling your emotions every which way as you innately try to connect with one of them. And perhaps that is the thing that makes the Lohmans so despicable: their lives ring so true. If you can't relate with a specific character, bounds are you at least know someone like that.
THE DINNER is an unsettling ensemble character sketch -- one you should be sure to catch. Now at Midtown Cinema, starting on 5/5!