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The Kitchen

The Kitchen: Movie Review

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, Elizabeth Moss, Common, Annabella Sciorra, Bill Camp, Margo Martindale (Rated MA – 102 min).

Surprisingly derived from a DC comic, The Kitchen refers to Hell’s Kitchen – not the Gordon Ramsay cooking show but the once named New York City province known back in the day for corruption by police and ownership by the gangster element.

Menacing mob story of three wives of criminals now in custody who take over the business of so called protection to the shop owners and people about town. It turns out many of the businesses are unsatisfied with the security they pay for.

Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish (both better known for their comedic roles) alongside outstanding Elizabeth Moss are the women basically cleaning up the mess their men left behind. Not all goes well with fellow men in the gang interacting with the girls with resistance and because this is based in the 1970s, equality doesn’t exist.

Gruesome violence in waves amongst the serious tones and occasional black humour mostly works, although just don’t expect this melodramatic film to move fast, action is limited.  Domhnall Gleeson (Mother, Ex Machina) makes an odd extended cameo with romantic ties, weirdly his closeness to the Elizabeth Moss character intrigues only in an obscure way. That said, Moss brings something extra, the lynchpin to the entire proceedings. Uncomfortably perfect, what an actor she is.

Plot-wise, The Kitchen is similar to the underseen well praised Widows (2018) – another women take over the criminal business movie. Decent although familiar soundtrack while period clothing looks gaudy but good. A special appearance by Annabella Sciorra, one of my favourites, an eye opening delight.

No stranger to non-comedy, McCarthy got an Oscar nomination for her drama work in Can You Ever Forgive Me (2018). This is lower scale still ultimately believable, as is the range of Ms Haddish, more drama parts please. Bill Camp (Red Sparrow, Vice) as an over the Brooklyn Bridge rival mobster is also excellent, his voice alone a standout.

Low key although worth seeing for gangster film fans.

Shane A. Bassett

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