Directed and adapted by Oren Moverman, from Herman Koch’s novel, The Dinner is served up in a posh restaurant, where two brothers and their wives meet to discuss how to deal with a violent crime committed by their teenage sons. Should they do the right thing, or protect their own?
The cast excel, with Steve Coogan excellent as the increasingly unbalanced history teacher, and Richard Gere solid as his politician brother. Laura Linney and Rebecca Hall, as their wives, subtly embody the maternal instinct to protect their children, despite patriarchal demands to impose justice, less for moral reasons than for self-preservation.
Slow-paced and thought-provoking, veering from boring, to overbearing, to fascinating and back again, as a metaphor for America’s racial and social divide, it’s ambitious, difficult and fiercely intellectual. Some may find the lack of resolution infuriating, but for those willing to take a seat, The Dinner is a mentally stimulating drama that offers no easy answers, but plenty of food for thought.