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The Dinner (2017) HD online

The Dinner (2017) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Crime / Drama / Thriller
Original Title: The Dinner
Director: Oren Moverman
Writers: Herman Koch,Oren Moverman
Released: 2017
Duration: 2h
Video type: Movie
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.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Chernus Michael Chernus - Dylan Heinz
Taylor Rae Almonte Taylor Rae Almonte - Kamryn Velez
Steve Coogan Steve Coogan - Paul Lohman
Charlie Plummer Charlie Plummer - Michael Lohman
Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick - Rick Lohman
Miles J. Harvey Miles J. Harvey - Beau Lohman
Laura Hajek Laura Hajek - Anna
Laura Linney Laura Linney - Claire Lohman
Richard Gere Richard Gere - Stan Lohman
Rebecca Hall Rebecca Hall - Katelyn Lohman
George Shepherd George Shepherd - Stephen Whitney (as George Shephard)
Adepero Oduye Adepero Oduye - Nina
Joel Bissonnette Joel Bissonnette - Antonio
Patrick Kevin Clark Patrick Kevin Clark - Conor
Chloë Sevigny Chloë Sevigny - Barbara Lohman

The author of the book 'The Dinner', Herman Koch, walked away from the European premiere in Berlin on February 10, 2017. He did not wish to stay for the after-party, nor talk to the director, cast members or audience. The reason was that he did not like the movie at all, mostly for the script which he thought had transferred his cynical story into a moral tale. Of the three movies made from his book, "this one is easily the worst", Koch said to Dutch newspaper NRC (Feb 11, 2017). "That after-party would have been rather awkward. What would I have done? Shake hands with everybody and tell them I hated their movie?" Koch disliked the movie's reference to themes like American violence and the stigma of mental illness. "That 'didactical' tone, isn't it killing?", Koch said.

This is actually the third film version to be made from Herman Koch's best selling novel. A Dutch film came out in 2013, and an Italian one in 2014. Both were well received and nominated for numerous awards.

The "Cheese Presentation" scene was filmed at the tail end of the last in a string of overnight sessions. At the NA Premier in TriBeCa, Michael Chernus shared that Director Oren Moverman pulled him aside at 3am and said "go to the kitchen and see... I heard they have some amazing cheeses back there. I need you to find out what they have, Google each one, come back, and do a monologue while looking straight down the barrel of the camera." Chernus did just that and came back 10 mins later to shoot what turned out to be a memorable (and educational) bit of comedic relief.

This marks as the third collaboration between Richard Gere and Laura Linney. They previously appeared in Первобытный страх (1996) and Чeловек-мотылек (2002).

Cate Blanchett was attached to direct at one point. Oren Moverman replaced her.

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!"

Actor Stephen Lang, who narrated the Gettysburg featurette, which in part described the key battle known as Pickett's Charge led by Major General George E. Pickett, played Pickett in the 1993 movie Геттисбург (1993).



Reviews: [25]

  • avatar

    Precious

    This is a film adaptation of a really quite excellent book - sorry to say that the film did not meet expectations at all. It was disjointed, had no conclusion and was mostly just plain muddled.

    The only positives are that it was well acted and shot nicely.

    I'm unsure what the screenwriter was doing really though - to mash an excellent book up that way and regurgitate it into this mess seems a travesty.

    A waste of time and effort and talent!
  • avatar

    Mr.Bean

    This film doesn't end. It just stops. As if in mid-sentence. It's like the abrupt end to The Sopranos, rejecting the reactionary and inane wrap-up to Breaking Bad.

    The open end is necessary because the moral, social and psychological issues the film sets in motion are too complex and too shifting to settle into any easy resolution.

    Richard Gere gets top billing as Stan Lohman, the congressman about to be elected governor. But his psychologically damaged younger brother Paul (Steve Coogan) has arguably the more central role and conveys the key line: "We make war for love."

    As a high school history teacher Paul teaches Gettysburg, the beginning of the end — (i) of the civil war, and (ii) of a society securely rooted in values and moral certainty. Of course the Civil War was fought for economics as much as anything else. But the soldiers thought they were fighting for conflicting loves: the mythologized glory of the Old South vs the valiant ideal of egalitarian freedom.

    Paul is a savage, it turns out, as we see in his two classrooms rants where his rage and cynicism overrun any academic decorum. As he early tells us, he prefers the heroic days of ancient Greece and Rome, the pagan energies, over the Dark Ages and ensuing silly niceties of modern times.

    That's why the two brothers and their families take this slugfest to the ultra-expensive chichi restaurant. The setting makes this another exploration of Civilization and its Discontents. As the two couples debate how to treat their sons' savagery the maitre d' recites the pedigree of each ingredient. This is an extensio ad absurdum of the refinements of civilization and the rewards of its privileged.

    Paul is uncomfortable there, in part because he can't afford it, he doesn't understand it, and he feels as excluded from this ritual as he felt from his mother's preference for Stan. If he seems sensible in disdaining the manners and the preciousness, he's ultimately just destructive and rude.

    Stan is easy in that precious milieu, gliding through the crowd of Washington Insiders. His slickness tempts us to dismiss him. But when he decides to abandon his career and bring his son to justice Stan represents civilization at its moral best.

    The brothers' different responses to the dinner cohere with their different responses to their sons' brutal and mindless murder of a homeless black woman, burning her alive in an ATM booth. To our surprise, the slick politico wants his son to face judgment. The total strategist suddenly places morality and principle above expediency. In contrast, his more cynical — and less capable of action — brother decides to preserve the sons' secret by setting out to kill Stan's adopted black son, Beau, who has decided to turn in the two boys.

    Both mothers fiercely try to protect the boys against Stan's eruption of morality. Claire (Laura Linley) tries to settle the matter without involving hubby Paul, arranging to pay off Beau for his silence. When he changes his mind, she orders Paul to "look after Beau" — a demand about as motherly as Lady Macbeth.

    Stan's wife Katelyn shares Claire's commitment to save the boys, even though they're only her step-sons. Hungry to save their sons the mothers demonize and wholly misrepresent their innocent victim. Despite this difference, both woman are the supportive roots of their husband's lives. The fierceness of maternal love bonds the women in contrast to their husbands' antagonism.

    Here the film seems most reflective of Trump's America. In the mothers insistence upon protecting their own family interests above all law and morality, they are Republicans at their most acceptable. Paul slips into their position, off his meds, too weak and confused to resist. But the moral hero is the politician Stan, who places conscience and justice ahead of his own and his family's interests. That's the liberal politician, an endangered species in Trump's America.

    Hence Stan's campaign for a bill to grant the mentally afflicted the same health coverage as the physically ill get. This echo of Obamacare — and slap at Trumpcare — also reflects on how Stan grew out of his own mother's madness, which persists in Paul. The figure we initially reject — the slick Stan, Washington Insider — turns out to hold the moral center. This film posits a liberal humanity against the Trump ethos.

    But it's not an easy choice. Which is the villain: the mother who will do anything to protect her son or the father who places justice and morality over this personal interests? The film ends before the three-day delay Stan grants his wife to try to change his mind. We don't know how that family's drama will end. Nor should we, given the complexities of the drama at the family, national and archetypal levels.

    But if we're responsible citizens we'll try to figure out what we would do in that position. It's not easy.
  • avatar

    Xal

    I was totally captivated by this film. All the cast were excellent, all of them favorites of mine, with Steve Coogan's depiction of mental imbalance especially brilliant. Some of the audience at my showing seem to be baffled by the unorthodox ending, but I thought it a fitting end. Will see whatever Moverman does in the future.
  • avatar

    Yggdi

    As difficult a task as this may sound, one needs to watch this movie a second time in order to appreciate the relevance of most of the scenes that wear you out the first time around. Having watched this movie after dinner (get it?), I sat up all night replaying the scenes in my mind, trying to connect the dots in pursuit of some sense. And then it hit me! The Dinner is an intelligent (unsure if intentional) interlace of two seemingly disconnected sequence of scenes - scenes of the actual food served through the night, and the rest of the movie.

    The connect is hidden in plain sight throughout the movie. It is not until the desserts are served, that the movie reveals subtle hints of this connection - the scene of hot caramel making its way through the chocolate egg seemingly to reveal what's truly inside, in a way blends perfectly with the other sequence of scenes that starts to unfold the true personalities of the entire cast. At this point, looking back, one could start to somewhat relate the other courses of food to the scenes of the story that run in parallel - the "young" baby carrots with rosemary polished "black" olives (olives signifying victory and rosemary signifying memory) and the back story of the two boys picking on Beau when they were much younger, the consistency of various cheeses and the consistency of the characters at the dinner table, and so on. In fact, it is at this point in the movie that Katelyn dramatically reveals her subdued self when she refuses to eat the dessert. And interestingly, this is the only point in the movie when the two sets of scenes blend in just so briefly, when Katelyn's character is showcased not by some back story but by her choice of not wanting to eat the dessert. And this brings us to the crux of the movie - choice! The moral dilemma that intensifies towards the end of the movie revolves around the choices that the cast have made or wish to make. And these choices are based on their beliefs and desires. Paul chooses to throw the ball to avenge his wife's death because he feels that the shopkeeper had killed her by selling her cigarettes. Might this have rubbed off on Michael who chooses to believe that the old lady was at fault for not moving out of his way? Claire sees reason in calling it an accident and in finding fault with the old lady in order to save her son. Katelyn chooses not to support Stan, possibly for the sake of her adopted sons or may be to protect her own marital interests? Dylan believes that the dessert was so unique that it had to be eaten. Each character in the movie fights for the choices they make, based on what they believe is right. While some or us may feel that Stan is right in choosing to go public, some others may feel that it is more important to shield one's family from the mean and insignificant world. Great wars have been fought to back one's sense of righteousness and Gettysburg is highlighted in the movie to depict the fight for democracy.

    The movie is a subset of everyday moral dilemma. We all fight smaller wars everyday to defend our own morals and to justify our own actions. Kill animals for food or go vegan? Spend on ourselves or save for our children? Outsource IT jobs to lower costs or employee local talent and sell at a higher price? What choices have you made today?
  • avatar

    Trex

    I thought this would be an interesting movie about the moral decision behind the plot (what would you do if your son did something awful? would you turn him in to the police?). These are the questions that are posed in the trailer. But the movie is scattered, terribly and unjustifiably long (2 hours) and the ending doesn't provide closure. I hate open endings.
  • avatar

    Helldor

    I stuck it through to the end, mainly because the cast are so great. Normally. But nothing could save this film. The script and over-talking and intercutting made it all a jumbled mess.

    There was no one to root for. And the ending? It's like it ran out of steam and subdural ideas and appalling dialogue.

    A killing at the end might have saved it. But I was beyond caring.

    Fisticuffs among bros, I've seen too much of that lately in more films and series than I can count.

    Spare me.

    1/10
  • avatar

    Stonewing

    This might have been one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Not only does the plot jump around trying to tie in dramatic twists, but the ending leaves you wonder what the hell just happened. The whole movie is boring and lacks actual depth. Whoever wrote this tried way too hard to write an award winning movie by being unique that they actually forgot to relate the 237930850 story lines. One person has a mental illness, there's a solid 5 minutes regarding the Civil War that ties into literally nothing, and in the end you have no idea what they actually decided to do with their kids, which is what the whole movie is suppose to be about. Just terrible. I've heard my 2 year old tell better stories.
  • avatar

    Dellevar

    Worst movie I have seen to date that had "big name" stars in it.. What were they thinking releasing this garbage...

    Throughout the movie I was thinking about rating this around a 3 or 4 for keeping me interested in what actually happened.

    The ending brought it down to a solid 1. I couldn't rate this is 2 even if I was paid to do so.

    Do NOT waste your time.
  • avatar

    JoldGold

    A lot of movies these days are based off of books because Hollywood cannot think of anything original on their own. It's unfortunate though when they base a movie off a book and don't stick to the book's storyline which ends up being why people say the book was better. This is the case with The Dinner where two families gather to discuss a crime their sons have committed and whether or not they should let them get away with it or turn their sons in. Throughout the dinner in the novel the leading character flashes back to times when he showed behavior that is typically that of a sociopath. In the book he doesn't show much emotion neither does his son which is why he believes his son is like him. The movie however paints the leading character as overly emotional and mental. Also you're going to end the movie with all the characters on their cell phones talking to god knows who and the main character laughing hysterically. Lame. In the book their son Michael kills his cousin Bo and gets rid of his body. He does this without remorse just as he committed the crime leading you to believe he is a sociopath like his father. Also at a restaurant across the street the main character's wife hits the politician brother over the head with a wine bottle to prevent him from throwing the press conference. He ends up in the hospital and she gets arrested. I don't mind that they decided to make the characters American but I do mind that they ruined the story and for one not as good. They took away a lot and added in nothing remarkable. As a book it was entertaining and memorable however as a movie it was weird, confusing and boring.
  • avatar

    Zehaffy

    movie aside............... the SOUND EFFECTS DEPARTMENT needs to NEVER WORK Again!!!!! whose ever idea it was to use the "APPLE ALERT SOUND" through out the ENTIRE MOVIE DIE!!!!! Usually Richard Gere movies were something to look forward to... (ACTUALLy.... he was maybe the ONLY ONE who I didn't want to PUNCH in this film)
  • avatar

    Qusserel

    Go watch paint dry. Go watch the water spin around in the toilet after you flush it. Spend your time and money doing anything but watching this nonsensical and utterly boring garbage. After hanging in there hoping for some sort of conclusion that would bring this disjointed mess together the garbage just ended like a horse with a broken leg being put out of it's misery. No payoff for sticking around till the end. This gives new meaning to the word sucks.
  • avatar

    xander

    The premiere gave way to a little scandal here, as the original writer of the novel bluntly refused to attend the reception afterwards, citing how bad the movie was and strayed from his intentions, finding it too moralistic as he saw it as an immorality tale; and themed too much around violence and mental illness.

    This is however a well-directed movie by Moverman that stands on its own and the whole feud is a classic case of writer dissatisfaction with the liberties a director has taken with the material, remember King for The Shining or Kundera for The Unbearable Lightness of Being. So instead of playing the blunt drama queen the writer could have respected the interpretation, but they almost never do being in love with their own material.

    This is well-directed by hiding the story like Haneke often does, next to putting you multiple times on the wrong track where the movie is heading. The movie works by playing to fundamental human psychological weaknesses the characters show in observing and interpreting information, and working that into the script so the viewers make the same mistakes. Clever. Sometimes however, the director is too much in love with his script, with overlong sequences in Gettysburg (we get the picture after ten seconds, but it draws out for minutes) and history lessons by Coogan as a teacher. Next to this it has several weakness in editing, the cinematography is also average, and the dark humor often falls flat.

    Gere, Coogan and especially Linney give excellent performances, contributing to the unsettling effect the movie ultimately has.

    Yes, it is a morality tale, but I disagree with the general view currently established that this is preachy, after all the ending is open and the moral dilemma is anchored in personal strife and views on solving these dilemmas, referring back to several schools in ethics like teleology, deontology and utilitarianism.
  • avatar

    Gandree

    Oren Moverman's latest movie is quite the challenge. It has difficult characters, discomforting dialogue, an intricate construction and spreads over two hours. Nobody can accuse The Dinner of being unambitious, but I would like to accuse it of being an ambitious mess. Thankfully, not an unbearable mess.

    Although Richard Gere (Stan) headlines, it's Steve Coogan (Paul), playing his brother, who appears to lead at the beginning. In an unexpected American accent, he narrates with misanthropic cynicism, as preparations for a dinner event are underway. The narration stops at some point and comes back randomly throughout the movie - just one of several small incoherences that make everything feel unusual. Stan and Paul's relationship is strained, at best, while their wives Kate (Rebecca Hall) and Claire (Laura Linney) act as mediators. Some dark matter seems to have brought them together at an elitist restaurant boasting culinary lushness; a matter which unfolds at a slow pace, interlaced with Stan fighting to pass a bill in congress, Paul's Gettysburg obsessions, their children's suspect affairs, past personal traumas, all across several courses of an impressive sounding meal.

    For a movie that desires to tackle the lofty theme of social divide, it starts out feeling very personal. As it progresses, it distances itself from Paul to focus on the bigger picture and gravitate around Stan. It's a difficult move to pull off, as some sense of alienation occurs in the viewer, who has to accept the deep flaws surfacing in the 'object of attachment'. I felt a bit stranded, which culminated in a subpar ending.

    But it wasn't a complete shipwreck, as Stan, alongside Kathey and Claire, managed to wrestle my attention. Indeed, wrestle is the right word, in what turns out to be a less than peaceful digestif. The whole preachiness of the last thirty minutes or so is borderline crass, yet engaging, in a visceral kind of way. It's a decent payout after ninety minutes of fluctuating intensity.

    Do the themes and motives really blend though? It's hard to find a 'red string' to carry you through, as Paul's Hobbesian worldview overlaps with discussions of mental illness, political maneuvering and familial discord. You get pushed into finding personal interpretations to allegorical content, which is fun and rewarding, yet the movie proves heavy- handed in framing its moral questions and imperatives. Next to its schizophrenic identity dilemma, this just works against itself in the final scenes.

    I really liked the intensity, the grotesque and obscene affluence entailed by the dinner scenes, even some of the almost derivative monologues. The interpretative freedom made some of the drearier moments worthwhile, but more cohesion and restraint would have transformed The Dinner into something quite special all around. In spite of the backlash it's being served, Oren Moverman's film is a worthwhile exploration into how messy holding yourself consistent socially and philosophically can be.
  • avatar

    Dalallador

    The Dinner is a slow paced film about human relations and decision making. To begin with, the cast excellent and its acting is equivalent of their acclaimed career. Geere performs compellingly a senator whose troubled relationship with his mentally unstable brother (Coogan) is about to reach a critical point because of a sudden accidental incident about their children. Their wives (Linney and Hall) are desperately trying to influence their final decisions. This film could also be a play because the story is based on the dialogues and not on scenery change. The script is well written and coherent while the character depth is very adequate. The final moments of the film will find the audience questioning themselves which decision they would make if they were experiencing the same circumstances. Drawbacks of this film include the slow pace and the sometimes persistent focus on Coogan's character. Despite these it is a worth seeing.
  • avatar

    Mitynarit

    I am a movie theater goer. I love movies, I go a lot to the movies, and I watch movies all the time because TV shows these days are sub-products and total waste. But this movie was so dull, so boring and non-sense, I missed TV. Maybe on TV I could be watching cooks who should be joining the Navy, Air Force or some elite military group because they are all ready to war!! Cake war, cupcake war, barbecue war, food truck war, you name it!! Or maybe checking the corny and cliché advises of people like Doctor Phil. Or watching the Sixth Sense for the 100th time and have hopes Mr. Night will finally get over it and make a sequel and it will be even better and puzzling than the 1st one...or I could be doing other things but not watching this crap. A bourgeois view of a awful crime made by somebody's kids. I am from Brazil where not like 15 years ago, teenagers set fire to homeless native Brazilians - Brazilians Indians - and they total got away wit it because their parents were hot shot people. And maybe this movie is an American version if that!
  • avatar

    Chankane

    "The Dinner" opens with a collage of: a faint radio voice asking about danger, panning to an ATM closet, then to a Civil War memorial, a graveyard, and then some rap music with its distinctive vocabulary. Some kids are seen drinking until the cops bust it up and the youngest pukes.

    What follows is some of the most boring footage ever shown, where high school history teacher Paul Lohman (Steve Coogan) narrates to us his love for ancient history and to his wife his desire not to attend a planned dinner. It can only get better from here.

    They meet up with Paul's brother Stan Lohman (Richard Gere) a consummate politician. Dinner conversation coupled with some judicious flashbacks explore the historical and political dimensions of racism in America as they discuss solutions to the jam their boys are in.

    Stan's hard working (black) assistant Nina (Adepero Oduye) while not occupying the high side of any glass ceiling nevertheless can exemplify Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation that exhorts the freed Negroes to accept available work at fair wages. Paul's high school with its half White half Negro attendance would follow the Eisenhower era decision of Brown v. Board of Education on integration. The colored diners at an exclusive restaurant represent their access to services as demanded by MLK. And the remaining progress is covered by Stan who has the African-American vote sewn up.

    The problem arises when Stan and his wife's black younger boy Beau having been adopted tries playing the race card to gain power with his sibling and cousin, they being natural offspring. Paul resents him personally. If institutional racism has been completely conquered in society, is it even possible to have racism with just one black person in a family? You'd be surprised.

    That's just the political dimension; the historical is worse. The bloody battle of Gettysburg pales compared to the ancient Deluge of Paul's period. Ellen Gunderson Traylor in her historical novel _Noah_ (Polson, MT: Port Hole Pub., 2001) writes, "prurient lusts so corrupted the line of Adam, that it was a rare family indeed which had no blood of the gods in its veins. The daughters of man­kind had so often been vulnerable to seduction, that it was extremely rare to find an unblemished line" (p. 59-60). "Noah was perfect in his generations" (Gen. 6:9), so any impurities would have come from the female side. In "The Dinner" the source of mental illness in the Lohman family line was attributed to their mother ("Mom was a wacko.") In Noah's family it appears to have been from maybe a hand­maid the mother of Ham the youngest—after the mother of Shem and Japheth quit bearing—, who brought the bad seed, which was demonstrated in the drunken Noah incident of Gen. 9:18-27 resulting in a fixed servile position of the youngest son of three, whose offspring through Cush (Hebrew for black) colonized Africa. In "The Dinner" history repeats itself in an incident with a "stinko bum" and miscreant son(s). Some rearrangement in the modern telling is added to keep it interesting.

    The second time I saw "The Dinner" I wore my Robert E. Lee T-shirt in the spirit of the movie's depiction of the Battle of Gettysburg. Passing through our liberal college campus to drop off my ballot in the box along the way I remembered that my shirt did have a small Confederate battle flag on the front. But nobody here in Oregon noticed or cared. I suppose it's mainly in the South there was such a furor over it. This film is like that. Although there's a strong suggestion of a linkage to a biblical incident that befell Ham and his off­spring, only some people would even notice it or be concerned.

    Richard Greer was all-in as a politician. Steve Coogan was a so-so "psycho brother"—I've seen scarier psychos. The women exhibited a strong range of emotion. Miscreant children looked bad. The innocent kid(s) had little acting to do except to be the deer caught in a headlight.

    The flashbacks are set off by soft lighting. The ending is not emotionally satisfying unless you listen to the closing song all the way through. I found the movie compelling once I got through its boring beginning.
  • avatar

    SadLendy

    The opening visuals of this film include pans of great trees barren in the winter with a pale sky overhead, accompanied by an ominous soundtrack and displays of exotic meals you can't name let alone ever have a chance to ingest yourself.

    And thus the 'table is set' for two families forever derailed by their grossly immature and entitled son's violent murder of a homeless woman, and the video to prove it.

    A formal dinner is arranged at an exclusive restaurant between the two couples in hope of a resolution that seems doomed from the start.

    And it pretty much is.

    The central character of the story, you would think, would be Richard Gere's Stan Lohman, a successful politician on the verge of running for Mayor. But the bulk of the attention quickly shifts to his brother Paul (Steve Coogan).

    Paul, we learn, has had a lifetime of mental issues. He doesn't exactly babble incoherently, but he is acutely focused on deeper observations of the human experience through the lens of history that others quickly dismiss as simple madness.

    And this is where the story seems to lose it focus, though not completely.

    You might begin to wonder to yourself at times where exactly this story is headed. Is it about the boy's crimes? Their parent's attempt to deal with it? -Or Paul's borderline insanity and his preoccupation with the American Civil War, particularly the battle for Gettysburg.

    Aside from that, we are treated to the vapid attitudes of the rich and privileged when it comes to protecting their children from themselves.

    Stan, on one hand, seems resolute on turning his own son over to the authorities to avoid being exposed in a cover up. But Stan's intentions are hard to plumb.

    Is he really trying to do the right thing? Or is it all to save his own political career? Doesn't really matter, because his efforts are quickly annihilated by his own wife's and sister-in-law's stead-fast position of burying the situation at all costs.

    Stan's wife in particular deludes herself to a sickening degree by blaming the poor homeless woman for her own death. It's a hard bit to stomach.

    As the discussion soldiers on, Paul frequently leaves the table to ruminate on his own son, sharply aware that his offspring has probably inherited a level or two of his own madness.

    Yet Paul's point of contention seems to be of a well-intentioned but failed idealist, while his son's condition reeks of glee-full anti-social depravity.

    The ending is anything but tidy when Paul commits to his own act of savagery.

    A very interesting film to be enjoyed by thinking people, but a production that is jumbled and a little rocky to get through for everybody else.
  • avatar

    Qumenalu

    By any standard, The Dinner is an exercise in indigestion, two dysfunctional sets of parents try to figure out what to do about the crime their two young sons have committed. While the dialogue is not as bright as Edward Albee's in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, or even the similarly plotted Carnage, the staging is much more open, giving the sense that we can freely indulge allegory and perhaps lay the proceedings on our own door steps.

    The parents hope no one will find out about the crime. Except that there is a video an adopted African-American sibling made and is thinking of blackmailing them. For the adults, the situation endangers their own lives, which could be forever changed with the disclosure.

    The central conflict of wills takes place in an impossibly posh restaurant, with course descriptions about the length of a short essay, and where the high price of the meals pales next to the price everyone at the table will pay.

    Stan Lohman (possibly suggesting the doomed Willy Loman from Death of a Salesman), played elegantly by Richard Gere (in a successful time of his career considering the recent release of Norman), is a congressman running for governor and on the eve of passing mental health legislation. Because his brother, former history teacher Paul (Steve Coogan), has mental issues, the legislation has more importance than usual. Paul unfortunately sabotages every conversation with rants about the world, as such also a danger to the good will of the audience which must endure his diatribes.

    The better angel of this verbal slug fest, the congressman, considers jettisoning his political future for the sake of his son's future mental health, i.e., telling all to the press. Although he is not blameless in life, the others are deplorable in their self-serving arguments.

    His wife, Clare (Laura Linney), and sister in law, Katelyn (Rebecca Hall), try to dissuade Stan, while Paul gradually drifts away through madness or willful ignorance. Regardless, writer-director Oren Moverman does an effective job keeping track while he cuts from dinner to the boys with their crime and to those who leave the table for periods of time.

    Although I'm not sure the writers want to move too obviously in favor of Stan's moral high ground, they do persuasively show the tangled web deceit weaves as well as the corrosive nature of silence. For this word-loving critic, the emphasis on dialogue is nectar considering the blockbusters I must endure this summer.

    Because this entertaining stage-like drama moves in and around idealism and pragmatism, it's nice to know that some family problems are almost unsolvable, if not downright intractable. Welcome to our collective American dinners, where even unspoken words are time bombs.
  • avatar

    Velan

    The movie goes super slow introducing characters and background story, the moment you think the story is now moving, the credit rolls. Absolute waste of time. Such a big star cast and pathetic movie
  • avatar

    Heraly

    This seemed like the type of film I would typically enjoy, however there is nothing enjoyable about this film whatsoever.

    The first half is so slow-paced and drawn out that I almost completely lost interest before the actual point of the dinner was revealed. Once I got to that point, the premise of the film was *just* interesting enough to force myself to suffer through the meandering second half to find out what happens in the end... except there is no actual ending. It just stops, as if they suddenly ran out of film while shooting the final scene.

    Besides that, the sound editing made me want to punch my TV screen in the face. How, you ask? By starting with practically inaudible dialogue muttered under the breath, and cutting suddenly to blaringly loud transition music, and repeating that about 46 trillion times until I wore out the volume buttons on my remote.

    This might be the most excruciating film I've ever sat through.
  • avatar

    Cargahibe

    Too many threads, no empathetic characters, crappy edits and a non-ending. A massive waste of talent and 2 hours of my time. Allegory? Even allegory needs coherence and this film had no cohesiveness whatsoever.
  • avatar

    Super P

    This is a terrible movie. Two sons of one of the families burn a homeless lady to death, and 3 of the 4 parents involved are perfectly fine with covering up the crime. They argue forever and the one parent (Richard Gere's character), that wants to do the right thing is finally worn down and agrees to go along with the cover-up. This movie is the kind of amoral drivel that rightfully gives Hollywood a bad name. And it is also extremely boring. I will be more careful to read reviews so I avoid this kind of excrement in the future. Hopefully, this review will help spare someone the loss of two hours of their life watching absolute garbage. I would have given it zero stars if I could.
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    Vudozilkree

    I can't believe what I just saw. This film was simultaneously about nothing and yet a complete conglomeration of everything they could squeeze into 2 hours. The plot doesn't even actually come into play until an hour and a half into the film and even when that happens it makes no sense. I can't say a single good thing about this movie. Everything about this movie is...for lack of a better term...f*cked. The direction is f*cked. The story is f*cked. The characters are f*cked. The tone is f*cked. The editing is REALLY F*CKED. Everything about this movie, aside from a few good camera shots, is terrible. Everything. The acting somehow was terrible. When you have Richard Gere and Steve Coogan in a movie, I expect at least them to be good in their roles and not even they could escape the suckfest this film is.

    I wish I could say what this movie was even about, but even if I had a gun pointed directly at my head I couldn't tell you for sure what this movie is really about. Here's my best try though...okay...two older rich white couples with rich white problems go to a luxurious restaurant for dinner to have flashbacks about their spouses having cancer, mental disorders, their kids throwing basketballs through store shop windows, mommy issues, compare all their problems to the Battle of Gettysburg, and when they have the time they finally get around to talking out loud about how they should figure out whether or not to turn their sons in for murdering a homeless woman at an ATM by setting her on fire...which the ATM camera filmed...and they also filmed with their phones...and posted it on a discount YouTube site...

    But don't worry about any of that because by the end of it, NOTHING IS RESOLVED. It literally at the most awkward time I've ever seen a movie end, it cuts to black. The parents decide to wait a few days to think on whether they'll actually turn their boys in for murder, in the meantime they'll take a vacation. One of the parents (played by Steve Coogan) is crazy and attempts to murder his nephew (Richard Gere's son), which is one of the sons involved that is blackmailing Coogan's son. Gere and the wives arrive before Coogan can do anything, Gere beats up Coogan and they all call the boy on their phones to try to get a hold of him to make sure he's alright. I think they do get a hold of him, but it was unclear. Camera takes one last look at Coogan being winded from getting his butt kicked. Cut to black. Credits...screw this movie.

    Everything about this movie was shockingly incompetent. From relatively awkward to jaw dropping, God awful editing. Pretentious and hollow dialog and character writing. Nonsensical story with zero structure to it. Cheap looking cinematography that tries its hardest to look like it has a budget but falls short. The tone is about as stable as a man hanging himself from his busted ceiling fan to jerk off to crumpled pictures of goats...yeah, I dare you to get that image out of your head. Seriously, this movie is the definition of a train wreck. I sincerely wish I had just went to the train tracks near my apartment, laid down, and waited. It would have been a more productive use of my time instead of sitting around for 2 hours, waiting for this piece of crap to finally blow its own brains out as an ending.
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    Abywis

    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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    Chilldweller

    Besides being utter and complete shite, it's just drags on to an ending where your only real emotion is a tremendous urge to punch Paul Lohman in the face until he can't speak. How I made it through the entire movie I'll never know. Maybe I thought it would get better but just as I was starting to like the fact that Paul was getting his ass kicked it ended.