[HUNGER Netflix REVIEW] It’s true that it’s like The Menu mixed with Whiplash, but it has its own unique storyline.
The Thai food movie that’s a mix of “The Menu” and “Whiplash” is somewhat similar in some ways, but it’s not entirely a copy because it has its own storyline. The story is about a middle-class girl who dreams of elevating herself in high society by showcasing her cooking skills. However, her successful recipe doesn’t make her as famous as she expected, and the villainous chef is straightforwardly evil. The characters lack depth in the latter part of the movie, turning it into a typical good vs. evil scenario, leading to a happy ending that’s too easy and predictable. Darker viewers may be slightly disappointed, but overall, the movie is enjoyable, with the lead actor charmingly portraying the role, making the viewers engaged in every scene. There are many beautifully shot cooking scenes, and the production value is high. It is the first Thai movie on Netflix that feels like it has reached a high international standard.
User Review( votes)
- Violent cooking style.
- Beautifully shot cooking scenes.
- Good production value.
- Lead actor played their role well.
- The plot still adheres to the formulaic success without delving deep into darkness.
- The supporting actors come across as fake.
- The protagonist’s role is quite dull.
HUNGER Thai Original Netflix movie about a young woman who inherits a roadside restaurant and finds her life turned upside down when she decides to join the top-tier chef team of the luxury food industry led by Chef Paul, exposing her to the darker side of the exclusive dining world favored by the wealthy.
Note: This article has been translated from Thai to English, I apologize if there are any mistakes/errors.
HUNGER Netflix REVIEW (No Spoil)
The Thai movie that is said to have similarities with The Menu and Whiplash, which is not surprising since both films were made before and are movies with new and unique ideas. After watching it, the writer felt that it had many similarities with those movies, and some aspects were also influenced by the Japanese manga series Iron Wok Jan!, a famous cooking manga series. In the beginning of the series, the main character is tested with a fried rice dish, a classic dish that looks simple but has depth in the cooking process. Similarly, the opening scene of this movie is also similar to that. Even the food presentation at the end is similar to The Menu (which if you’ve seen it, you’ll remember the type of cuisine). However, these similarities are not a bad thing. It’s better to focus on the movie itself.
The movie follows the story of Oil (played by Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying), the daughter of a street food vendor who inherited her parents’ skills. She is persuaded to join the team of Chef Paul, the most famous chef in the high-end culinary world who only serves the rich. Chef Paul becomes an inspiration for her to be someone special like him. However, the intense pressure from Chef Paul becomes dangerous for everyone in the kitchen.
The plot of Hunger includes scenes where the protagonist is bullied and belittled by various antagonists, much like in the movies The Menu and Whiplash. However, what sets Hunger apart is that the character in question is not a direct villain, but rather a perfectionist who sees everything as having to be perfect and following their own clear set of rules. Everything they do is to push their students to become truly skilled, even if it means using intense and extreme methods that go beyond boundaries. However, in Hunger, the chef ultimately becomes a true villain, despite initially feeling similar to the characters in the other two movies. Later in the story, his actions become illegal and solely serve to satisfy his own desires. He is not a rational person and can be considered unpredictable, unlike the character in the other films who should have had more reasoning behind their actions. However, the script makes him a straightforward villain by adapting a popular news story from Thailand, which robs the character of any complexity or challenge. This is a common issue in Thai films, where the writing often requires a clear separation between good and evil characters, even when the story does not necessarily call for it.
The protagonist is the first character introduced to follow the formula for a successful story. She is a middle-class girl from an ordinary family who strives for success she has never experienced before. She then finds the path to success and love, but before everything changes again, and she starts to find a new path for herself. This plot almost never deviates from the successful formula, although there are brief moments where the protagonist seems to be like a helpless chef. However, these moments are short-lived, and the story does not have much impact on the overall plot because in the end, the protagonist does not turn into a dark and troubled person as the story hints. Instead, it follows the standard formula for a happy ending, which makes the ending quite ordinary, even though it could have ended in a darker and more realistic way.
Although the plot is not particularly innovative, the film is enjoyable thanks to the performances of both lead actors. Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying plays her charming and determined character in a way that makes the audience cheer for her to defeat Chef Paul. Meanwhile, Nopachai Chaiyanam‘s portrayal of Chef Paul is truly chilling and realistically depicts a character with a severe mental illness. Viewers can feel the intense emotions in every scene he appears in, making the atmosphere tense and suspenseful. However, the characters themselves lack depth as was hoped for.
Another thing that makes this movie good is the various cooking scenes that emphasize beautiful close-ups. There are several times when slow-motion animation is used during cooking, which is the favorite part of the production. The beautiful presentation of the food and the luxurious design concept all came together nicely. However, this part has a slight flaw with the scenes that emphasize the fancy party planning, which looks fake and overused. Additionally, the supporting actors who play the food tasters appear to be overacting, making them look distracting compared to the beautiful food presentation scenes.
Overall, despite criticism about its heavy reliance on inspiration from other works and a plot that doesn’t quite reach its full potential, the movie is entertaining and features excellent production design. It’s the first Thai movie on Netflix that truly feels like it measures up to international standards.