The Dinner (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 2, 2017 by  

Oren Moverman’s “The Dinner” may not have the same shock factor of its novel counterpart and its bleek characters.  While characters and their actions are much more subdued in this film adaptation, the film is still provocative, that I can’t help but recommend for people to watch it.

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TITLE: The Dinner


DURATION: 120 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:85:1 aspect ratio, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: Spanish, English SDH

COMPANY: Lions Gate


RELEASE DATE: August 8, 2017

Based on the Novel by Herman Koch

Directed by Oren Moverman

Screenplay by Oren Moverman

Produced by Caldecot Chubb, Lawrence Inglee, Julia Lebedev, Eddie Vaisman

Executive Producer: Eva Maria Daniels, Leonid Levedev, Angel Lopez, Olga Segura

Cinematography by Bobby Bukowski

Edited by Alex Hall

Casting by Jodi Angstreich, Maribeth Fox, Laura Rosenthal

Production Design by Kelly McGehee

Art Direction by Gonzalo Cordoba

Set Decoration by Joanne Ling

Costume Design by Catherine George


Richard Gere as Stan Lohman

Laura Linney as Claire Lohman

Steve Coogan as Paul Lohman

Rebecca Hall as Katelyn Lohman

Chloe Sevigny as Barbara Lohman

Charlie Plummer as Michael Lohman

Adepero Oduye as Nina

Michael Chernus as Dylan Heinz

Taylor Rae Almonte as Kamryn Velez

Joel Bissonnette as Antonio

Golden Globe® winner Richard Gere, Laura Linney, and Steve Coogan star in this dark psychological thriller about how far parents will go to protect their children

Dutch author Herman Koch wrote the novel “The Dinner” and was first published back in 2009 and has become an international bestseller and has received three film adaptations.  The first in Netherlands (2013), the second in Italy (2014) and the most recently was in 2017 directed by Oren Moverman (writer of “The Messenger”, “I’m Not There.”, “Rampart”), who also wrote the English screenplay.

The film stars Richard Gere (“Pretty Woman”, “Primal Fear”, “Hachi”), Laura Linney (“The Truman Show”, “Mystic River, “Primal Fear”), Steve Coogan (“Philomena”, “Alan Partridge”, “Tropic Thunder”), Rebecca Hall (“Iron Man 3”, “The Prestige”, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”), Chloe Sevigny (“Boys Don’t Cry”, “Big Love”, “Love & Friendship”), Charlie Plumber (“King Jack”, “Granite Flats”) and Adepero Oduye (“12 Years a Slave”, “The Big Short”, “Pariah”).

And now, “The Dinner” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Lions Gate.

“The Dinner” revolves around a dinner between brothers, politician Stan Lohman (portrayed by Richard Gere) and his brother, former professor Paul Lohman (portrayed by Steve Coogan), who has a mental illness which has progressively gotten worse).  Joining them are Paul’s loving wife Claire (portrayed by Laura Linney) and Stan’s wife Katelyn (portrayed by Rebecca Hall).

But this is a dinner which Paul does not want to be a part of but his wife cajoles her husband to go.  Meanwhile, Paul discovers the smartphone of his son Michael (portrayed by Charlie Plummer) and sees that his son may be getting himself into some trouble.

As the four meetup for dinner and things often get volatile, Stan tries to explain that he gotten everyone together because he has something very important to discuss.

But each time he tries, Paul gets into a fit and often gets angry or leaves the table.  Paul looks at his brother, a wealthy politician as a sign of what is corrupt in society.

Through flashbacks, we learn that Paul has a mental illness, lacks any empathy towards people, obsessed with the Civil War but how his mental illness had gotten worse.  If there is one thing that is certain, his love for his wife and his only son, Michael.

Meanwhile Stan, is trying to get a mental health bill passed, which was inspired from his brother’s mental illness, but also their mothers mental illness.

But as we see how challenging of a relationship both Stan and Paul has had, the hot and heated marriage between Stan and his wife Katelyn (portrayed by Rebecca Hall), Claire Lohman is more of the rock in the family of Paul and Claire’s marriage.

We learn that Stan has been married before to Barbara (portrayed by Chloe Sevigny) who has had a mental breakdown and in that marriage, they adopted an African American boy named Bo.

We then see multiple flashbacks involving Paul’s child Michael (portrayed by Charlie Plummer), a friend and Bo going to a party.  We learn from Flashbacks that perhaps Michael may have symptoms like his father, lacking empathy.  In fact, going so far to diss Bo because he’s Black and doesn’t care.

While walking home, they want to go to an ATM but find a homeless person sleeping in the ATM booth during the cold winter.  Wanting to use the ATM, Michael tells the homeless woman to leave.  She doesn’t and so he and his friend find trash to throw at the homeless woman but then, doing the unthinkable.

But what happens during the dinner and why does Stan Lohman, who is on a major political campaign, find it important to bring his brother and sister-in-law together?


“The Dinner” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio). Closeups show good detail but for the most part, the film was shot indoors, in the evening but overall, the film looks very good with no signs of significant artifacts or banding issues.


“The Dinner” is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and features crystal clear dialogue.  While surround channels capture ambiance, this film’s soundtrack is primarily dialogue-driven.

Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.


“The Dinner” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by director Oren Moverman and actress Laura Linney.
  • Photo Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer


“The Dinner” comes with the Blu-ray and an UltraViolet HD code.

When Herman Koch’s novel was published, needless to say, it was a novel that shock people to its core and showing how apathetic a family could be in order to protect their children.

While the novel pulls off a lot of surprises, Oren Moverman’s adaptation of the Koch novel is more subdued.  Less troubling, but nevertheless suspenseful and still entertaining despite not being a 100% faithful adaptation.

Without spoiling the film, “The Dinner” is a film that touches upon various characters.  The often-angry and apathetic Paul Lohman who suffers a mental illness (which is never revealed in the film or the book) who doesn’t want to see his brother, a successful politician named Stan.  Who has invited Paul and his wife Claire over for dinner at a restaurant to discuss something important.

Meanwhile, Paul is suspicious of his son’s behavior due to what was on his phone.

And we start to see through flashbacks of the things that his son have done and unfortunately there are repercussions that affect Stan and Paul’s family.

In the film, there is focus on mental health but also for people who are of privilege.  Does morality prove to be much more important over family union or politics?

The novel tends to show how each person is guilty of immoral choices and actions, which do not make it into the film.  There was no doubt that the book was very dark and it’s not something that filmmaker Oren Moverman wanted to take on.  And this is where people who have read the book may have a problem with the film, for not going where Herman Koch was able to go in the novel.

And Oren’s choice of a more subdued storyline is no surprise where people not familiar with the book, probably don’t want to watch a film so bleek and f’d up.  But for storyline purists, creating a film that strays from the source is not cool!

There were a lot of bad things that should have happened, but they don’t in the film.  But the provocative message involving every major character in the film still drives the message through of how far people would go to protect their children (especially those with money and power).

The performance by Steve Coogan, especially from Richard Gere were quite solid.  Coogan who had to play Paul in various states of mental illness was no doubt difficult, but he manage to pull it off with efficacy.  Richard Gere is a talented actor along with Laura Linney who both shine in this film and it’s great to see the two united since their film “Primal Fear”.

As for the Blu-ray, picture quality is very good and the lossless soundtrack is dialogue-driven, so more front channel speaker focus for this film.  And you also get special features including an insightful audio commentary by filmmaker Oren Moverman and actress Laura Linney.

Overall, Oren Moverman’s “The Dinner” may not have the same shock factor of its novel counterpart and its bleek characters.  While characters and their actions are much more subdued in this film adaptation, the film is still provocative, that I can’t help but recommend for people to watch it. Check it out!

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