The restaurant is a hellish place. The kitchen is a health department's nightmare, and in one instance the place is raided because of a sickening truckload of rotting meat. It is done in drab greens, and looks like something from Terry Gilliam's nightmares. The dining room is deep, bloody red, accentuating Gambon's porcine face and barbaric nature. The bathroom, site of Georgina's first tryst with Michael, is antiseptically white, a shocking counterpoint to the filth of the rest of the place. In a surrealistic touch that works particularly well, Georgina's costume changes color to match the room she is in. It ably demonstrates that this restaurant is supposed to be an allegory. The film falters when it leaves the hellish restaurant and ventures out into the city, but returns to an ending I can't really describe. Poetic justice is one way to look at it. Hellish is another. Whatever you want to call it, I have never seen anything like it before. To give you an idea, the filmmakers had to cut a half hour out to qualify for an R rating, but I rented the uncut version.
So, what does it mean? It is one of the most angry films I have ever seen. Not the screaming fit kind of angry, but the dangerously quiet and menacing anger of a deep-seated and long-suppressed rage. I have heard that it is supposed to be an indictment of Margaret Thatcher's government in England, which is entirely possible. In that case, Albert would be the Conservative government, destroying the country while the intellectuals (possibly Michael and Georgina) stand by and complain without actually doing anything. In a more broad sense, it is an indictment of rule by terror as well as of those who refuse to act against it. Whatever meaning you take out of it, you are not likely to forget it, and it just might give you nightmares.
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