Directed by Mark Mylod, ‘The Menu‘ revolves around the renowned chef Julian Slowik, who runs an exclusive restaurant named Hawthorne, located on a private island. When a group of wealthy individuals ends up in the restaurant, Slowik traps them and announces that none of the people in the establishment will leave the restaurant alive. While Slowik’s customers get alarmed about their lives and fates, one among them, Tyler Ledford, ignores the predicament and tries to relish the chef’s dishes. Still, it doesn’t take long for Tyler to die. So, why does he kill himself? Does Slowik provoke him to take his own life? Let’s find out! SPOILERS AHEAD.
What Does Slowik Whisper to Tyler?
Tyler Ledford is not drastically different from the usual customers of Julian Slowik. He is an incredibly rich man who is known for his fine taste and obsession with luxurious and exclusive food. Ever since the dark comedy film’s beginning, Tyler starts to sing praises for Slowik’s reputation and talent. But there is one thing that sets him apart; Tyler is the only one among the final group of customers the celebrity chef hosts at his restaurant who knows about their impending deaths. Tyler accepts the potential deaths, including his own, for the sake of getting hosted by someone of Slowik’s reputation.
While Slowik was conceiving his final menu, Tyler wasn’t an ingredient in the same as other customers. The chef even tries to dissuade him from attending the “last supper” by revealing his plan for killing himself, the group of customers, and the entire staff. Still, not only Tyler joins the customers but also brings Margot Mills/Erin without telling her about the murder plot. Tyler could have saved the entire group of customers’ lives but he doesn’t since he wanted to be one among Slowik’s elite class of customers. Tyler is ready to selfishly jeopardize others’ lives just for the sake of fulfilling his needs or aspirations, which makes him one among the other wealthy customers.
During Slowik’s early days as a chef, he used to experience immense joy just by cooking for customers who used to relish his dishes to their hearts’ content. When he became a celebrity chef, his customers changed to groups of rich individuals who came to his restaurant to boast about their social and economical status and not to enjoy food. All they did was pretend to care and love the food Slowik made for them so that they can be a part of an exclusive club. Their disregard for his “artworks” makes him kill a group that represents them. The same group also includes Tyler.
Why Does Tyler Kill Himself?
When Tyler accepted to join the final group of customers despite knowing about their potential deaths, Slowik might have understood that the young man is similar to every other rich customer he had who tried to use him to enhance their social status rather than to “experience” the food he makes. When Tyler brings someone to the occasion without letting her know about the consequences of her visit, Slowik decides to kill him. Tyler’s pretentious attempts to impress the chef by learning about the ingredients of his dishes further infuriate Slowik, who humiliates the former by asking him to cook.
Slowik knows Tyler is at Hawthorne, pushing Erin to death, only for getting his approval. After Tyler cooks a horrible dish, Slowik denies the approval Tyler has been craving by criticizing him. The renowned chef might have whispered to Tyler how he can never be able to experience the art of relishing dishes since he is just a pretentious gourmet. Slowik may have even added how he will be killed hopelessly without his approval as well. Tyler may have realized that it is pointless to wait for his death when the chef can only see an abominable and failed creature in him.
Tyler kills himself due to the humiliation he suffers from Slowik’s words and disapproval. The master chef makes him a comic figure by asking him to cook under immense pressure, destroying his personal status and reputation. Through Tyler’s suicide, the film depicts how a part of today’s elite is more concerned about their reputation and status than their own lives, which leads them to restaurants like Hawthorne to pretend to comprehend and enjoy food chefs, including Slowik, make.