The Kitchen is based on the DC Vertigo miniseries comics of the same name which is the more adult graphic comic book publisher from DC comics. The film was written and directed by Andrea Berloff, in her directorial debut.
The film stars Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, and Elisabeth Moss as the wives of Irish mobsters who take over organized crime operations in the 1970’s New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood after the FBI arrests their husbands.
The source material was adapted from a comic book, and while comics are usually great for movie adaptations, the Kitchen seemed like a great non-superhero story to tell. The story was very straightforward, and kind of predictable. There were some twists and surprising moments that were unexpected however the film had potential to be better. It felt the writers stayed close to the source material with no room to branch out. Parts of the storyline of the film felt all over the place, but the pacing kept you invested in the film.
Tiffany Haddish, Melissa McCarthy, and Elisabeth Moss all did a fantastic job with their roles in the film. Surprisingly Haddish was a standout star during the entire film. She is usually known for being the comic relief so much that people thought she will only be type cased, however, she did an amazing job with her character. Moss, known for her role in the Hulu original The Handmaids Tail portrayed a character similar to her shows character, but slightly different. I like McCarthy, however, her performance in this film felt dry and waisted.
Andrea Berloff made her directorial debut with this film; she is known as one of the writers for films like “Straight Outta Compton”. Although I think she did a great job directing this film, the movie felt “safe” meaning that it felt as though the tore the pages right out of the comic book and used the similar themes to tell the story without providing any opportunity for the story to flourish on its own.
The film will probably end up being a one-shot wonder. It felt great with woman leads, however, it fell flat because it didn’t use any of its grit to pull in its viewers for shock value. I think the film is a must-see, but once you see it it’s not a movie you would be eager to see again.
The Kitchen had so much potential to be a great “mobster” themed film, it has a strong cast, and a strong story to fall back on, but because the film didn’t fully take advantage of being edgier, it became lost in its version of the beloved comic book. I particularly was not fond of how the film ended. It was kind of a letdown considering what the film was building up to from the start. If the film gets a sequel, I hope the filmmakers push the envelope more and think outside of the box.
Total Score 6/10