HUNGER (2023) – Mouth-Watering Thriller Will Have You Hungry For More

Are you hungry?’

For success? Food? Power? What is it you hunger for? And how far do you go to get it?

These are the questions that are asked in HUNGER (2023), a new movie from Thailand which is now available on Netflix.

HUNGER is the story of Aoy (Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying) who works incredibly hard as a fry chef for her dad’s restaurant, and when she’s not working, she laments with her friends over how difficult it is to get ahead in life. One day, a young man named Tone (Gunn Svasti Na Ayudhya) notices her at work and hands her a business card, telling her she’s too good to be working there. The card is an invitation for her to interview with the famous Chef Paul (Nopachai Chaiyanam), the most famous chef in the land.

Aoy auditions for Chef Paul and makes the cut to join his team as a fry chef. As she finds out, Chef Paul is extremely demanding, and he reduces her to tears with his intense demeanor, but Aoy refuses to give up. Chef Paul cooks for the super wealthy and is a showman as well as a chef, as the meals his team prepares are as much works of art as they are meals.

As Aoy works her way up, she is noticed by an entrepreneur who wants her to become the next Chef Paul and open her own top of the line restaurant. Aoy accepts his offer, and the second half of the movie positions Aoy against both her former mentor, Chef Paul, and her own conscience, as back home her father is ill and in need of her help, yet she has no plans to return home to assist her family, because she hungers for success and will do whatever it takes to get it.

I absolutely loved HUNGER. There is so much going on in this movie. It covers a wide array of themes and does a fantastic job with all of them.

At first, it’s easy to think of HUNGER as a variation of THE MENU (2022), a terrific movie which starred Ralph Fiennes as a master chef who also cooked for the super wealthy and who also was demanding and turned his meals into artistic performances. But other than this obvious comparison, they are completely different movies. THE MENU went down the path of melodrama and horror movie thriller, while HUNGER in spite of becoming quite thrilling remains a genuine drama.

And HUNGER is quite thrilling. Director Sitisiri Mongkolsiri imbues this one with lots of energy. It is intense from beginning to end.

As I said, it covers a wide range of themes. The obvious theme is one’s hunger for success, as Aoy is driven to be the best chef she can be. She tolerates Chef Paul because she knows she has a lot to learn from him. She ignores her family back home because she sees them as a distraction. Yet, the film has a lot to say about the price one pays for success as well. By film’s end, Aoy is doing a lot of soul searching and makes a thoughtful decision about what is most important to her in life. And it’s not blind success.

There’s the theme of the haves and have nots. Chef Paul cooks for the super-rich, and we see these people consuming ridiculous amounts of food, and the scenes where they feast and eat are shot in extreme close-ups that are all rather disgusting. They often resemble wild animals sloppily devouring their prey, even though they are all surrounded by opulence. Both Chef Paul and Aoy grew up poor, and Chef Paul is driven by an almost insane desire to make these people hunger for him. In effect, he’s making them give him all their money by providing them with food that he can create like no other, but he’s not doing it out of a love for food, but out of hate for his clients.

HUNGER is also about power, and the abuse of that power. Chef Paul is quite abusive to his staff, and as Aoy starts her own restaurant, she inherits some of Chef Paul’s dictatorial tendencies, which don’t always sit well with her.

HUNGER also does a terrific job with its food preparation scenes. This is one area where HUNGER is superior to THE MENU, as HUNGER does a much better job with its food scenes. This movie will make you hungry.

Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying is superb as Aoy. It’s a driven, intense performance that makes you want to join her on her journey and see her reach the success that she so desperately wants.

Likewise, Nopachai Chaiyanam is equally as fervid as Chef Paul, and the scenes towards the end of the movie where the two characters square off against each other at a lavish party where they are competing for the top chef honor are as exciting as you will find in any movie.

The screenplay by Kongdej Jaturanrasamee is superb. It tells an exciting story, creates memorable characters, and has so much to say about what drives people to succeed, while making some social commentary about the rich and the poor.

I loved HUNGER. Everything about it works.

It doesn’t just satisfy. It will also have you hungry for more.

I give it four stars.



Four stars – Perfect, Top of the line

Three and a half stars- Excellent

Three stars – Very Good

Two and a half stars – Good

Two Stars – Fair

One and a half stars – Pretty Weak

One star- Poor

Zero stars – Awful


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