Upon hearing that Joe Maggio’s Bitter Feast would be a part of the Austin Film Festival I instantly knew that I had to check it out. I really like cooking shows, especially Gordon Ramsey’s ‘Hells Kitchen’, and I thought it would be a similar experience. I was wrong. What I got instead was a movie that is longer than it needs to be and shares its plot points with nearly ever other kidnap thriller made in the last ten years.
Peter Grey is a successful television cook living and working in the heart of New York. But when a scathing review from snarky restaurant critic JT Franks threatens to ruin his career Grey opts to fight back. Pushed over the edge and convinced this blogger has killed the dream he has worked for all his life, the famous chef hijacks the culprit in a remote cabin where he prepares a classic dish of revenge - served cold. Maggio's darkly satirical look at the relationship between the critic and the artist is demented and humorous, growing more and more brutal until the shocking final course.
I think this movie would have been better had it been made as a comedy rather than a dark thriller. After the first five minutes you will likely be thinking the same. Bitter Feast had a lot of potential, but in the end it does not deliver. It takes an idea that we have all seen and does nothing with it. I wouldn’t expect you to find this on DVD any time soon, but perhaps as a 2 a.m. snack on the food network.