Directed by: #StevenSinimeri
Written by: Steven Sinimeri
Bereft of any narrative drive or unity, Dinner is merely a collection of bleak depressing scenes of underdeveloped characters meandering to depressing ends with no grand or thematic relevance. Writer-director Steven Sinimeri pads out the lifeless drama by having his characters personalities be subsidiaries for depression and alcoholism as two of three leads are falling apart emotionally where as the third is clueless to their pain and just wants to have a meal. Intentions of wanting the story to reflect the hidden pains people suffer are obvious but the film is aimless for none of the performances are given direct characters arcs.
Sinimeri makes no effort to create dynamic characters for the audience to care about.
Edward Clements who plays Mark opens the film as an alcoholic and while the film ends with him in a worse off situation, there is no real emotional change in the performance. He’s still an alcoholic and despite a somewhat confrontational discussion with his brother Tony, the film has Mark make no effort to have a story. Dinner is a film that has a lot of its plot implied through performance especially through Zuzana Spacirova’s storyline as Tony’s girlfriend Lara who has received distressing medical news on a sheet of paper. Both Mark and Lara’s storylines are visually similar, the two characters submitting to their vices and depressions in thematically absent scenes. The editing intercuts these scenes together to try and give an impression of a more poignant narrative but the whole film is a monotonous slog.
Even with its short running time, Dinner feels drawn out and pointless, using gritty drama tropes to try and spruce up its absent story but gives off a feeling of exploration to these issues. Sinimeri has nothing compelling or original to say about the character’s suffering, leaving the dreary nature of the script barren to any catharsis the audience could hope to glean from the ending. Not structured properly to work as a tragedy, Dinner does so little to flesh out its characters or relationships, the actors are given nothing to work with as the majority of the film are long sequences of them being wordlessly miserable.
It's strange as though events in the film occur in a chronological order, it feels as though nothing really happens in Dinner. The audience is unable to form a connection to any of the characters or their issues, making the more mature themes seem tacked on to give the film superficial gravitas in lieu of actual substance.