Told in distracting flashback style, the story revolves around the bizarre relationship that develops between Nicolas (Jean-Pierre Lorit), a handsome, carefree waiter, and Frederic (Bernard Giraudeau), an imperious and wealthy business mogul. They meet when Frederic, being waited on by Nicolas, suddenly asks him to taste his food for him. When Nicolas is able to name every ingredient in the dish, the impressed Frederic offers him a job as his official food taster, with one of his chief responsibilities being to determine if any dish contains seafood or cheese, two items to which Frederic is deathly allergic.
Despite the objections of his bourgeois-hating girlfriend Beatrice (Florence Thomassin), Nicolas quickly takes to his new position, especially since he soon gets to enjoy the same high-flying lifestyle as his employer. Unfortunately, his role quickly takes on disturbing ramifications, as Frederic seems intent on making his food taster a personal clone, even to the extent of first starving and then poisoning him in order that Nicolas share his own food preferences. The two eventually become embroiled in a sinister, psychologically interdependent relationship that, needless to say, doesn't end well.
While the film seems initially promising in its audacious explorations of obsession and identity, the screenplay doesn't sufficiently develop its ideas into a coherent whole. Torn between its comedic, dramatic and satirical elements, it doesn't truly succeed on any level, though there are more than a few quietly chilling and perversely funny moments along the way. Adding greatly to the film's overall impact are the two lead performances, with Giraudeau particularly memorable as the supremely officious Frederic.
A MATTER OF TASTE
Director: Bernard Rapp
Screenwriters: Gilles Taurand, Bernard Rapp
Producers: Catherine Dussart, Chantal Perrin
Director of photography: Gerard de Battista
Editor: Juliettte Wilfling
Original music: Jean-Philippe Goude
Production designer: Francoise Comtet
Frederic Delamont: Bernard Giraudeau
Nicolas Riviere: Jean-Pierre Lorit
Beatrice: Florence Thomassin
Rene Rousset: Charles Berling
Magistrate: Jean-Pierre Leaud
Running time -- 90 minutes
No MPAA rating
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