"...an empty vessel of the A24 aesthetic"
A BANQUET (2022)
THE "IMDB" PREMISE:
"Widowed mother Holly (Sienna Guillory) is radically tested when her teenage daughter Betsey (Jessica Alexander) experiences a profound enlightenment and insists that her body is no longer her own, but in service to a higher power. Bound to her newfound faith, Betsey refuses to eat but loses no weight. In an agonizing dilemma, torn between love and fear, Holly is forced to confront the boundaries of her own beliefs."
OUR [TO THE POINT] REVIEW:
Falling into the category of food horror, it’s unfortunate that A Banquet doesn’t have any meat or potatoes to call it a full meal. It’s a film that has its clear influences (Raw, Saint Maud, Ari Aster, Robert Eggers, Lovecraftian cosmic horror), but fails to forge an identity of its own and feels more like an empty vessel of the A24 aesthetic.
A Banquet is also the type of film that’s “about trauma”, but doesn’t go anywhere beyond that such as what creates trauma, how it affects one and those around them, or how one can heal from trauma. Plus its adherence to its cosmic horror concept makes any thematic element mute alongside making eating disorders merely playthings in its story.
The visuals are mesmerizing, but, again, it’s all for aesthetic with no substance behind it. I wouldn’t call A Banquet pretentious, though, as it does come across as a valiant effort in filmmaking, but it doesn’t fit into the arthouse roster it wants to be in.