Flux Gourmet

Review by Sarah Murnane

Flux Gourmet (Peter Strickland, 2022) is an independent movie that fails to hit the mark. The film follows a group of artists who join an institute dedicated to culinary performance. The ‘culinary collective’ made up of Billy (Asa Butterfield), Elle (Fatma Mohamed) and Lamina (Ariane Labed) gradually deteriorates in the search to find what it truly means to produce culinary inspired art.

This film had two major problems: lack of direction and timing. The lack of direction, manifests in the overall themes of the film. Flux Gourmet attempts to do too much at once. Resulting in an uncoordinated and messy final product. The main themes the film attempts to showcase are horror, drama and comedy. The attempt to balance and handle these three complex themes is done through the use of dialogue, sound, music and production. In some areas Flux Gourmet hits on a certain theme excellently. The horror scenes in the movie create a nice tension and compliments the main plot of the movie. However, when these horror elements are offset by attempted comedy or drama, it not only confuses the plot, but the audience as well.

Furthermore, the comedic aspect of the film was distinctly lacking. Flux Gourmet appears to aim for two types of humour: dark comedy and gross comedy. The scenes intending for dark humour regularly fall into pretentiousness.  The gross elements to the film fail to be funny enough to off-set the ‘shock’ value of those particular scenes. The comedy in the film actually impinges upon the characters and plot. This is primarily because it is poorly executed, not because the idea itself is inherently bad. 

Alongside the comedy and horror elements, there are certain scenes that aim for drama. While these are portrayed better than the comedy scenes, most of them are overall pointless and add nothing to the character development or plot.

This ties in with the second issue of the film: timing. Flux Gourmet is simply too long for what it is trying to achieve. The film is nearly one hundred percent character based, with the plot serving as a secondary factor. With a runtime over just over two hours, it leaves the audience lethargic. It is possible that if the film had been more focused, this runtime would not have mattered as much. However, it does become tedious near the end.

What is to be commended are the performances. The big names in the film, Asa Butterfield and Gwendelyn Christie excel. Lesser known actors are also impressive. Particularly Fatma Mohamed, who shines throughout with her comedic charisma. Added to this is the incredible cinematography of the film. It is truly beautiful at some points, evidence that a  significant amount of effort went into making the aesthetics of the film to make it look as spectcular as possible.

Ultimately, if character development is your time of cinema, this film could tick the right boxes for you. However, overall it is not a film that you would be missing out on if you did not get around to watching it.

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