food in the arts

 

 
     
     
 
 
DINNER RUSH/ FOOD FILMS/ FILM MAIN
Dir: Bob Giraldi/ Scr: Brian Kalata, Rick Shaughnessy/ Cast: Danny Aletto, Edoardo Ballerini, Kirk Acevedo, Vivian Wu/ USA/ 2001/ 98 mins

Beginning with a Broadway Danny Rose roundtable chin session and climaxing with a seizure of unlikely but cathartic wise-guy retribution, Bob Giraldi's DINNER RUSH stakes out its downtown territory with surgical precision. Set almost entirely inside a busy, upscale Tribeca eatery, the movie is an impressively deft re-creation of a familiar space, complete with industrial decor, hectic kitchen chaos, track-lighting faux pas, and a population of self-obsessed, hyper-sophisticated bullshit artists. Visual naturalism is Amerindie's largest oversight, but Giraldi and cinematographer Tim Ives achieve a budget-defying degree of Altman-style weave-and-smush.

As the film's evening presses on, tension mounts, merely by virtue of the restaurant's everyday attempts to avoid collapsing into mayhem while concocting white-truffle this and lemongrass that. But Giraldi (a 25-year vet of commercials and music videos) and his scriptwriters work in a few strands of melodrama for good measure. The old-school owner, Louis (Danny Aiello)—who cannot tolerate the insubstantial pretensions his ambitious superstar-chef son, Udo (Edoardo Ballerini), puts on the menu—is trying to quit a bookmaking side-business that got his partner killed. The piddling Queens mobsters responsible for the hit (Mike McGlone and Alex Corrado) station themselves at a balcony table, waiting until the lovable sous chef Duncan (Kirk Acevedo) pays off his huge gambling debt or Louis makes them co-owners. Giraldi folds in at least 10 other characters, from a trivia-spouting Brit barkeep to Sandra Bernhard's gargoyle food critic, all so confidently sketched they seem to be in constant motion doing their jobs even when offscreen.

Michael Atkinson

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Dinner Rush [DVD] [2002]

Dinner Rush (Amazon.fr)

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