Directed by: Gaelle Mourre Starring: Katie Leung, Joan Walker, Jonathon Kemp, Anthony Tayo, Kieran Slade, Short Film Review by: Chris Olson
Based on a short story by L. P. Lee, The Feast is a sumptuous mystery of the gluttonous kind, with an appetising premise and a rich aesthetic. Not only this, the performances are simply delicious.
After being cordially invited to dinner by the Count (Jonathon Kemp), aspiring artist Hayley (Katie Leung) makes her way cautiously to his manor house planning to further the careers of herself and her friend. Upon arrival, she is greeted by the Count's disagreeable attendant (Joan Walker). Hayley quickly dons the outfit selected for her and makes her way to the dining room, where The Feast awaits her.
Told with a delectable sense of mystery and suspense, director Gaelle Mourre (who also co-wrote the short) knows how to pace herself in order to get the maximum impact of this tale of greed and sin. The dialogue is short and sharp, whilst the visual landscape is deep and rich, and it is in this variety that The Feast is so enjoyable.
The main sequence between Leung, Walker and Kemp is phenomenal, reminiscent of that marvelous scene in Pirates of the Caribbean where Geoffrey Rush gets Kiera Knightly to scoff down a hearty meal aboard The Black Pearl. There was something more sinister to The Feast as well, bringing to mind the cautionary coming of age thriller Raw and the superb performance from Garance Marillier. Here, though, the majesty of the film is found in the more graceful succumbing to influence than the unrelenting savagery of youthful urges.
Leung is a phenomenal presence throughout the short, able to combine the vulnerability of her character alongside her voracity with deft skill. Seeing the transformation over the course of The Feast and beyond is terrific cinema. Kemp is excellent too, if only for his seductive diction and graceful poise. And as far as Walker goes, I could have watched her misanthropic attendant all day.
Audiences wishing to explore the depth of meaning in The Feast will find, ahem, a lot of meat on the bones. The nature of the story touches upon numerous enduring themes of innocence, greed, ambition and more, coalescing into an immersive viewing experience that will leave you swirling if you let it.
If you can get an invitation to see The Feast, I wholeheartedly recommend that you accept with eager pleasure. It's an all-you-can-eat experience for the willing movie-goer.