It’s highly doubtful anyone would want to have dinner with this quartet of elitist sad sacks. History teacher Paul Lohman (Steve Coogan) and his wife, Claire (Laura Linney), join Paul’s congressman brother, Stan (Richard Gere), a gubernatorial candidate, and his younger wife, Katelyn (Rebecca Hall), for dinner at an exclusive restaurant.
The Messenger writer-director Oren Moverman adapts Herman Koch’s novel (already the source material for a Dutch and Italian film), revealing crucial information bit by bit via flashbacks. I won’t ruin any of the reveals, as the suspenseful disclosures are the film’s sole means of redemption. Sure, Coogan, Linney, Gere and Hall give the tremendous performances expected of them, but the characters are categorically unlikable outside of Gere’s politician, the sole dinner party member whose reputation improves. The more we learn about Paul, Claire and the spawn of both couples, the less appetizing The Dinner becomes.
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