The Dinner: What You Need To Know
What begins as an awkward social engagement between two feuding brothers and their wives soon spirals into a moral dilemma that could not only affect both of their careers, but the lives of their children too; that's the premise of The Dinner, a new film adapted from the novel of the same name by Dutch author Herman Koch.
After debuting in cinemas last year, this week see the film make its arrival in store son DVD and Blu-ray, here's everything you need to know...
Who's in it?
Richard Gere, Steve Coogan, Laura Linney and Rebecca Hall lead a cast that also includes Charlie Plummer, Chloë Sevigny and Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick.
And who's directing?
Oren Moverman, whose previous credits include 2009's The Messenger and 2014 drama Time out of Mind, is the man in the director's chair on this one.
What's the plot?
Paul Lohman (Coogan) is a struggling former history teacher whose strained relationship with his brother Stan (Gere) becomes even more pronounced with the announcement that Stan, a high-flying career politician, is planning to run for Governor in the upcoming election. Paul and his wife Claire (Linney) are then invited by Stan and his wife Katelyn (Hall), an invitation that Paul is reluctant to accept, dismissing the choice of exclusive restaurant as an attempt by Stan to flaunt his connections.
However, Claire eventually persuades Paul to agree, but when they arrive at the restaurant they soon discover that Stan intends to use the meal to hold summit talks about an incident involving both Paul and Stan's children.
It transpires that both Paul's son Mike (Plummer) and Stan's son Rick (Davey-Fitzpatrick) were responsible for an incident in which a homeless person was beaten and set on fire, and that a video of the incident has begun to circulate online, becoming the subject of various news reports. Mike and Rick have so far remained unidentified, but it then emerges that Rick's adopted brother Beau has a copy of the tape and is blackmailing his brother and cousin by threatening to reveal their identities.
Stan organises the dinner at the restaurant to discuss with Paul and Claire what they should do next. Stan announces his intention to call a press conference at which he will withdraw from the election race and reveal the reasons why, but Paul sees this as attempt to throw both their sons under the bus in a cynical attempt to save his political career. We soon learn the reasons behind the brothers' long-running animosity toward each other, and the lengths to which both sets of parents are willing to go in order to protect their sons, as well as themselves.
Does it deliver?
At the heart of the tale in Moverman's film is a stinging critique of the savagery and selfishness that can be masked by good manners in polite society, illustrating how quickly the facade of respectability can crack and fall away when the interests of its purveyors are threatened. The film's habit of cutting back and forth in time can be disorientating at times, but some magnetic performances from the cast – especially some particularly outstanding moments courtesy of Laura Linney – make The Dinner as engaging as it is enraging.