Written & Directed by Joe Maggio
Peter Gray...James LeGros
JT Franks...Joshua Leonard
Peter Gray is one of those new wave, pretentious chefs. You've seen them on TV using buzzwords like organic, farm fresh, and the latest addition to their ouevre, sustainability. He has a deep passion for his trade which shines through on his cooking show The Feast. He wants to inform and educate his audience, but unfortunately, his audience mostly wants to be entertained. If they happen to learn something on the side, well, those are the breaks.
JT Franks is one of those new wave, venomous food critics. You've read their words on the internet (because, let's face it, nobody reads newspaper anymore), using phrases like atrocious, inedible, and of coure vomitous. He is a very bitter and angry man, and that bitterness shines through on his blog Gastropunks. He wants to be a great novelist, but unfortunately, people don't read books anymore either. They just want to see vile attacks directed at people who are better off than they are. If someone's life happens to be torn apart in the process, well, those are the breaks.
JT Franks brings the bitter. Peter Gray brings the feast. And Iron Chef Mario Batali brings a not-age-appropriate ponytail.
When Peter's carefully crafted career path veers wildly into a shit storm--losing both his television gig and his restaurant job--he's just looking for someone to take it out on. JT Franks is the most obvious scapegoat, as his scathing review of Peter's food appeared just before things went south. So, after perhaps watching Saw or Hostel late one night over a chilled bottle of White Zin and a plate of Sauteed Clownfish with Eggplant Risotto and Cucumber Gulash (or whatever; I'm no foodie. My idea of high cuisine is not taking the vegetables off of my Double Quarter Pounder), Peter kidnaps the food critic and holds him hostage in his remote country estate.
Myriad mindfucks, mindgames, and uniquely culinary torture sessions ensue.
The two main characters are well-crafted and believable, with rich backstories that are hinted at but never dwelled upon. No mere torture porn, this is actually a well-crafted psychological thriller that has the unique ability to make us shift sympathies between captor and captive, seemingly on a whim. Surely we can all identify with elements of both characters, and because neither of them are actually the least bit likeable, that probably says a lot about us that we don't really wish to hear.
And hell, if you cast Uwe Boll in the Peter role, any one of us could easily be JT. Ponder that one, my fellow bloggers.
Despite a questionable circuitous finale, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and I hope that others will give it a shot and dig it as much as I did.
And I'm not just saying that because I'm afraid of what might happen to me if I don't.
On a side note, there was one questionable piece of dialogue that I hope someone out there on the interwebs can help explain. Referring to his eye-rolling cohost, Peter Gray says, "The only thing missing from her is a fart in a kazoo". Or was it "a fart and a kazoo"? Either way, I'm totally baffled.
"En Garde, shit stain!"