A former history teacher and his wife Claire meet at a fancy restaurant with his elder brother, a prominent politician and his wife Babette. The plan is to discuss over dinner how to handle a crime committed by their teenage sons. The violent act of the two boys had been filmed by a security camera and shown on TV, but, so far, they have not been identified. The parents have to decide on what to do.Written by
For this movie, The Dinner, English actor Steve Coogan's American accent used sounded so much like Willem Dafoe, that jokingly, Dafoe contacted Coogan to ask him to do voice overs for a new puppet show he was supposedly "in-production" and asked if he could use his voice to help out finishing while Dafoe was out sick. Coogan thought it was a serious offer and asked to talk it over with his agent. Dafoe promptly told him he was joking and did offer to keep in contact, "just in case!" See more »
Something went awry between novel, screenplay and editing this film. It has good ingredients and should have come out well but due to bad timing and poor structure it sinks.
Supposedly a mystery, the drama really occurs, that is the spur to action, in the last quarter; sure, it has been implied up to then, but the four leads get to it then and some life seems possible. But no, it drifts to nowhere and to nothing. It doesn't need a neat resolution but it needs a dramatic conclusion and this has missed it by a long way.
The fault is the form which in a novel can work: out of sequence scenes, flashbacks, memories, etc but in this film are tedious and give too much time to one character played by Coogan, who is capable, but not convincing, and too afflicted by sibling envy to really provide forward movement.
Because Coogan's character is pivotal in the first half, the others are ancillary and when they come forward in the last quarter they are not given much: petty self- interest from the women, and high principle from the Gere-politician. It's not helped by the irritating architecture around the dinner itself and the food as some counterpoint to the bad tastes that are in character's mouths.
This probably looked good on the page but is not successful in its proper medium. Skip it and find some other fare.
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