The Dinner could’ve been an intimate film instead is a jumbled mess focusing on a cast of characters who, frankly, are not very likeable especially throwing in the morality at its core that shouldn’t be disputed.
Lionsgate | R – 120 min. – $24.99 | August 8, 2017
Date Published: 07/31/2017 | Author: The Movieman
THE MOVIE — 2.5/5
Have you ever been to a dinner party and wanted to get the hell out of there ASAP? Well, that’s how I felt following The Dinner, a movie adapted from Herman Koch’s novel which already has been adapted twice before in 2013 in the Netherlands and 2014 in Italy and now 2017 in good old U S of A. Not sure how well it adhered to the novel however reportedly Koch walked out of the premiere and didn’t show up to the after party.
The plot is simple enough: Paul and Claire Lohman (STEVE COOGAN, LAURA LINNEY) attend a dinner at a fancy restaurant with Stan and Katelyn Lohman (RICHARD GERE, REBECCA HALL), Paul’s brother and sister-in-law.
From the get-go this doesn’t seem like any ordinary dinner, not only because Paul and Stan don’t exactly get along or that Paul is suffering from mental illness, but, at the movie plays out in flashbacks, their respective teenagers (CHARLIE PLUMMER, SEAMUS DAVEY-FITZPATRICK) are involved with a horrific crime. Complicating matters, Stan is a congressman vying to have an amendment placed in the ACA (Affordable Care Act) and has aspirations for governorship.
And that’s really it. There’s plenty of focus on Paul’s mental illness and obsession with Gettysburg, intermixed with the dinner and more flashbacks that led to their kids’ crime, but what should’ve been an intense, even intimate little drama became a bit too complicated for its own good. Add to that, you’re following unlikeable characters and the only ‘good’ or morally aligned one happens to be the politician. That’s realistic.
On the plus side, I can’t really complain about the performances. Steve Coogan does fine turning in a dramatic performance, Richard Gere still has some charms and will never get tired of either Laura Linney or Rebecca Hall, though those two play the most despicable of the four main characters. Chloë Sevigny meanwhile has a smaller role playing Stan’s first wife who makes appearances in yet more flashbacks.
But the biggest sin going against The Dinner, beyond the wretched characters, is the supposed morality debate at the core really isn’t all that debatable, in fact one character’s justifications is outright sociopathic and another is about power, and when it’s the politician is the only one thinking rightly, you’re riding the line of fantasy and the absurd.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.25/5
This release comes with a matted slip cover and inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. Features are on the lighter side with a fine Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Oren Moverman and Actress Laura Linney and a Photo Gallery.
Previews – The Hero, Beatriz at Dinner, Lady Macbeth
VIDEO – 4.0/5
|The Dinner is served on Blu-ray presented with a 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. Throughout the entire film, there is richness to the picture, many dark colors during the present day scenes while the numerous flashbacks lacks it. Detail was decent enough but nothing fantastic.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
|The disc includes your basic yet still adequate DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. The vast majority of the film is strictly dialogue-driven with some minor pops of depth with one of the key scenes, otherwise the bulk comes from the center channel with a bit of ambient noises through the front and rear speakers.
OVERALL – 2.0/5
Overall, The Dinner could’ve been an intimate film instead is a jumbled mess focusing on a cast of characters who, frankly, are not very likeable especially throwing in the morality at its core that shouldn’t be disputed. In any case, this release by Lionsgate offers good video/audio transfers but is limited in regards to the bonus material.
Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.