Writer/director Peter Stickland’s newest film Flux Gourmet is finally being served up on a platter for mass consumption! I went into this one completely blind, knowing little of Strickland’s auteur status, or his penchant for the bizarre. It must be stated that although Flux Gourmet has been touted as a horror/comedy, the horror element within the film is virtually nonexistent. Instead, what we are left with is an empty satire of performance art. Misguided, puzzling, but ultimately original, this is one oddity that must be seen to be believed.
Welcome to the world of the Sonic Catering Institute! Run by the sickeningly bourgeoise Jan (Gwendoline Christie, Game of Thrones, Star Wars: The Force Awakens), this “culinary collective” carries out extravagant food-based performances in an almost ASMR-style. Lest one forgets, the ritualistic ceremonies also culminate in backstage orgies! Elle (Fatma Mohamed) has notably just won a stay at the residency, and constantly clashes with Jan. Our window into the institute is Greek journalist Stones (Makis Papadimitriou), who is seeing a doctor for his flatulence problem, and documenting this group in the process.
In-fighting, gender politics, gluten allergies, angry residency rejects out for revenge, and… an egg fetish? It’s all here in Flux Gourmet, and every bit as inexplicable as one would expect. The more I tried to make sense of what I was watching, the more confused I became. Well before Asa Butterfield (Netflix’s Sex Education, Ender’s Game) as Billy goes bonkers over Jan’s finger-smell, the inconsistent dinner speeches left me beguiled. As the group shares bizarre stories through their interviews with Stones, a dynamic is established that paints the institute in a questionable light.
I have to admit, some of these characters were fascinating to watch. However, choosing Stones as an audience point of entry was probably a mistake. Through narration, Stones basically never stops talking about his anus and flatulence problems. As far as the filmmaking technique, acting, and pure skill on display, one cannot deny that the film sings on purely a technical level. Flux Gourmet is possibly one of the weirdest movies I have ever seen, and I am still not sure whether that’s a good or bad thing. I may have to sit with it awhile to determine whether it was even worth a watch.
Flux Gourmet comes for one’s gastrointestinal tract when it debuts in select theaters and Video On Demand on Friday, June 24th.
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