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  • Writer's pictureMax Markowitz

The Kitchen

Exudes Confidence

I suppose curiosity doesn't always kill the cat as the stimulating intrigue of Andrea Berloff’s The Kitchen was born from her curiosity to explore the territories The Kitchen so confidently crosses.

In 1978 Hell's Kitchen, three members of the Irish mob attempt to rob a convenience store and are arrested by the FBI. They are each sentenced to three years leaving their wives, Kathy Brennan, (Melissa McCarthy) Ruby O’Carroll (Tiffany Haddish) and Claire Walsh (Elisabeth Moss) in financial turmoil. Kathy has two kids to take care of and no one will hire a mother, Ruby is living with her overbearing mother in law and Claire is only volunteering as her violent husband kept her from any employment. The mob says they'll take care of them but only gives them a tiny pittance. After being denied more money, the three-team up and take over their husbands organized crime operations.

Predictably, they face doubt and sexist mockery from the mob but after terminating every obstacle thrown their way, they win most of them over and gain powerful reputations. It is the surprise early release of their husbands that will start knocking down the whole house of cards.

McCarthy, fresh off her second Oscar nomination, proves she can tackle darker films in an immediate fashion. The vulnerability she portrays only adds to her strength and gives the story more life. Haddish’s performance is that of a clever fox. Ruby remains determined but unfazed by each brick was thrown at her head as she's the most resourceful of the three. As The Kitchen carries on, you see McCarthy and Moss follow in her footsteps as Ruby seems to be the ringleader. Moss’s Claire is the most transformative as her history of domestic violence leaves her starving for control and as you watch her navigate the shady underworld of organized crime, you will see that she gains the upper hand. You see her fall in love with the violence of her new life as her dark past was simply her on the other side of a mirror and she's finally shattered the glass.

The Kitchen exudes confidence. The writing was excellent and much more than you'd predict from a full-length debut filmmaker. The final end scene did feel pretty rushed but other than that, The Kitchen was one of those rare first timers that'll most likely win you over.

The Kitchen has received mostly negative reception but that should not stop the audience from seeing it as they don't have the same high standards for films the way critics do. The Kitchen is indeed an entertaining film. However, you will be entertained and find yourself talking about it long after you leave the theater. The Kitchen may not give you as much adrenaline as other crime films but it'll stay with you and maybe that was Berloff's whole goal, to begin with.

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