If you can't stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen, because director Peter Greenaway's food porn movie is one film that is really hard to digest. It's not for everybody. After all, the film's putrescence, debasement and excesses (sadism, cannibalism, torture, graphic fornication, puke, and rotting fish and meat) and scatological themes (force-feeding of excrement, urination on victims) forced the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) to give the film, an "X" rating for theaters, and a NC-17 rating by the time of its video release. An alternative R-rated version was indeed made, but it cut out about 30 minutes of footage. Regardless of what version, you try to watch; all of them, ends the same way, with your head over a brown bag, puking. It's just one of those types of a movie even if the nudity scenes are not that bad. Without spoiling the film, too much, the story also written by Greenaway was inspired by Jacobean revenge tragedies and name after four people that the director originally wanted to work with; it tells the story of a successful criminal, Albert Spica (Michael Gambon) with expensive tastes having just bought a French restaurant, where he holds court nightly drinking the finest wines and abusing staff and customers equally, while his mistreated wife, Georgina (Helen Mirren), secretly has an affair with a bookseller, Michael (Alan Howard). However, things become more troublesome for the secret lovers as Albert find out about their affair, setting off a chain of violent acts over the course of one night dinner party, which the main cook, Richard Boarst (Richard Bohringer) cannot stop. While, this film is not as shocking or offensive as other films like this, such as 1975's 'Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom' or 2010's 'A Serbian Film'; 1989's 'The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover' did do something, besides having shock value. It was also somewhat beautiful metaphoric shot by cinematographer, Sacha Vierny. I love how Peter Greenaway and his crew designed this cruel, over-the-top, truth-telling film as an allegorical criticism of wasteful and barbaric upper-class consuming society in Western civilization (specifically Thatcherism and Reaganism of the 1980s). You do kinda see it, with the way, the cameraman shots people eating beautiful baroque style artwork of food, with their eating habits representing more like pigs feeding at a through, than proper dining etiquette. Its looks rather gross. Even the graphic sex scenes, while somewhat hot, are just as dirty. After all, porking near raw dead animals filmed with unflattering lighting isn't what I call, 'attractive'. Despite that, I love how huge and allegorical, this colorful restaurant is. It is a bizarre place, a mixer of post-modern pipes and medieval-looking cauldrons. Almost like a dream, of some sort. It's portray a sense of luxury and commodity to the point that it can be seen as a symbolism of Frans Hals style art, with the cook representing the artist, the theft as the forger, the wife as the populace and the lover as the intelligent circle. I also love how the kitchen and storage area (deep jungle-green), representing greed & decay, main dining room (hellish red), signifying blood & violence, the adjacent parking lot (dark blue) representing the coldness & death, and the restrooms (white) representing neutrality, and exactitude. It made a wonderful centerpiece for a Technicolor stage play with the costumes by Jean-Paul Gaultier changing colors like a mood ring. You really do see the characters, reaction differently, with each location. The acting throughout this, is amazing, even if some of them, like Michael Gambon was a bit, hammy and Richard Bohringer, a bit limiting. They all have a part to play, here. While, some scenes in this movie can seem out of place and not needed like the singing dishwasher kid, Pup (Paul Russell), the spoon waiter, and the shirtless cook scenes that comes off as too bizarre and pretentious. For the most part, the pacing is alright, despite a few filler and padding. Another thing, great about this movie is the music, by composter, Michael Nyman. It's beautiful, stately, & elegiac, even if it's mostly a recopy of his 1985's 'Memorial' funeral piece. It remind me, so much of 17th century English composter, Henry Purcell in the way, it adds immeasurable depth of feeling. Overall: Although, it's not easy to sit through this surreal, somewhat avant garde film. It's also impossible to turn away from the screen. It's like a beautiful train wreck. You hate to see it, but can't help, yourself for taking a look. I can only recommended it, for people that had morbid curiosity about certain people's inhumanity. There is no fine dining here.