Getting introduced to a filmmaker surely has its ups and downs. After watching Flux Gourmet, I have now been introduced to Peter Strickland. A notable horror director whose vision is a mixture of grotesque, unusual imagery and the downright weird. Nevertheless, he’s a director who certainly makes a name for himself, and his latest film will definitely demand your attention.
Flux Gourmet is about a group of performance artists who engage in what’s called “sonic catering.” It’s the practice of recording the sounds of food being made while someone is performing in front of a live audience. The audio equipment is situated behind the performer, but the food isn’t the attraction. It’s the show on display.
These shows can range from enticing and romantically persuasive to downright bizarre. I’m not sure what kind of audience would be interested in seeing this type of art, but in this movie, the audiences have orgies after the show. Spearheading this operation is the mysterious Jan Stevens (Gwendoline Christie). She runs the Sonic Catering Institute. This is where the shows will be played, and the people who have enrolled in this program are here to get started quickly.
The supporting cast includes Elle (Fatma Mohamed), who envisions herself as the artist of these shows. She has a thing for using a flanger in her shows much to the dismay of Jan Stevens. Additionally, we have Billy (Asa Butterfield) and Lamina (Ariana Labed), who work as the sound techs during these shows. One of the non-residents of this program is Stones (Makis Papadimitriou). He is there to observe this four-week program and write about all that happens. He becomes an unwilling participant in this program due to the fact that he’s suffering from gastric issues.
To the aid of Stones is Dr. Glock (Richard Bremmer), a creepy doctor who is thrilled to witness this revelation of a culinary program. Forget the food, let’s stick to the show. Now, that you have the plot in front of you, you may be wondering, what is the point of this movie? Well, I’m hard-pressed to find it myself.
I was impressed with the cast, as they are quite effective here. Fatma Mohamed as Elle is the highlight of the movie and Stones serves as the narrator of sorts. For some reason, Stones narrates to the audience in Greek while the movie is in spoken English. There’s no explanation as to why this is, nor is the story exactly keen on letting you know why we are here in the first place. Writer/director Peter Strickland is effective in making us feel uncomfortable when we need to be, but in the end, I don’t see a reason why anyone should take time out of their day to view this film.
I can’t say that it’s a bad film. The production quality is superb, the acting is good, and the characters are fleshed out, if not in the most effective of ways, but the story is just not that interesting. The film is classified as black comedy/horror, but I didn’t laugh at all nor was I scared. I just displayed a look of confusion and a whirlwind of questions flooded my mind. Flux Gourmet definitely has vision but it lacks essential substance so that the audience cares about what unfolds.
Flux Gourmet is a strange title for a supremely weird movie. Granted, this is my introduction to Peter Strickland, and that has profoundly made an impact. I can appreciate the style, the characters, and the setting (which looks oddly non-present day), but the overall consensus is that this isn’t a movie that I would be craving to watch again. From the sonic culinary scenes of compounding audio bleed, to the utter confusion at some points, Flux Gourmet has the look but not the bite of something that’ll make audiences hungry to witness.