By Megan Bianco
Oren Moverman’s adaptation of Herman Koch’s novel The Dinner had all the potential to be a good onscreen interpretation. A well-received book for basis, an all-star cast and a decent filmmaker. Koch’s novel has already two film adaptations in Italy and The Netherlands that were moderate successes, so while redundant, a Hollywood version should’ve been fine. But instead, it was somehow all wasted away.
At a high-end NYC restaurant on a school night, brothers Paul (Steve Coogan) and Stan (Richard Gere) are having a fancy dinner with their wives Claire (Laura Linney) and Katelyn (Rebecca Hall). Stan is running for governor while Paul is recovering from a nervous breakdown. Both couples’ children are also in the midst of a tragic incident that they want to make sure doesn’t go public. Chloe Sevigny co-stars as Stan’s ex-wife.
Moverman has been involved with movies like I’m Not There (2007) and Love & Mercy (2014), so it’s frustrating to see how much of a step down The Dinner is. There is no consistent tone throughout the whole movie and the direction is shockingly amateurish. Too many out-of-place flashback sequences could have been shortened or even put in a whole different movie. The film would have served well if the majority of the story took place at just the restaurant. On top of that, the main actor, Coogan is woefully miscast and borderline obnoxious with a put-on accent that sounds like an insufferable Woody Allen impression.