A TASTE OF HUNGER
Reviewed for Shockya.com & BigAppleReviews.net, linked from Rotten Tomatoes by Harvey Karten
Director: Christoffer Boe
Screenwriter: Christoffer Boe, Tobias Lindholm
Cast: Katrine Greis-Rosenthal, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Flora Augusta, Charlie Gustafsson, August Vinkel, Nicolas Bro, Maj-Britt Mathiesen
Screened at: Critics’ link, NYC, 1/12/22
Opens: January 28, 2022
Denmark, like England and Ireland, is not known for food. Nor can Danish cuisine be compared favorably to that of China or Italy. There is one exception: and this applies to any country. You may have top restaurants anywhere, fancy places with fancy tabs and overpriced wine of all major culinary cultures. You can go to a pizzeria in Denmark, get sushi in England, and lobster Cantonese in Ireland. Just ask Christoffer Boe, who co-wrote and directs “A Taste of Hunger.” Boe examines a high-end restaurant and a failing marriage, but the chances of a laser focus disappear zig-zagging scenes. Films often begin with the ending, then trace back to see the trajectory leading toward the conclusion, but “A Taste of Hunger” simply throws scenes helter-skelter at us serving to confuse rather than to clarify.
Maggi (Katrine Gries-Rosenthal) says that she wants everything. She is more specific when she picks up Carsten (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) at a bar, reporting that when she has a whiskey sour, she hungers for “dick.” The ensuing relationship leads to marriage and two kids, August (August Vinkel) and Chloe (Flora Augusta). But Maggi is frustrated that in his quest for a Michelin star which would allow Carsten to continue charging prices into the stratosphere, she cannot get enough of him. So intent, so focused on getting that star, Carsten, thinks that a Michelin critic is at one of his tables but has not eaten the signature dish of oysters. He fires the chef who claims that he lacked the time to taste the product before sending it on its way out of the kitchen.
When Carsten sees an enigmatic, one sentence letter that his wife is seeing a lover, he throws Maggi out of the house. There appear to be no chances for a reconciliation. Carsten, repudiating the idea that many Scandinavians thrive on open marriage, is on the verge of a breakdown. The inability to land a star, the only way he can avoid bankruptcy, hits him especially hard given the marital breakup.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who resembles our Aaron Eckhart, is a good-looking fellow who had no problem with an assertive partner who joins him at a bar, but his wife’s affair with the younger Frederik (Charolie Gustafsson) adds misery to Carsten’s professional problems. Director Boe might have afforded his audience a story that takes place in chronological time but instead sacrifices a better understanding by a random, would-be hipster chronology. Still “A Taste of Hunger” has this year’s most attractive poster (see above).
In Danish with English subtitles
104 minutes. © 2022 by Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online
Story – C+
Acting – B
Technical – C+
Overall – C+