Three women take over organized crime in Hell’s Kitchen in the late 1970s while their husbands are in prison. That’s the premise of a DC comic called THE KITCHEN: QUEENS OF CRIME has now been filmed for the big screen. What follows is interchangeable. We reveal more about this in our review.
Claire (Elisabeth Moss) and her husband Gabriel (Domhnall Gleeson).
The plot summary
New York City, 1978. The 20 blocks between 8th Avenue and the Hudson called Hell’s Kitchen – a collection of pawnshops, porn palaces and dive bars owned by the Irish Mafia – have never been the easiest or safest place to live. Then things take a radical and dramatic turn for mobster wives Kathy (Melissa McCarthy), Ruby (Tiffany Haddish) and Claire (Elisabeth Moss). After the FBI arrests their husbands, the women take matters into their own hands: From now on, they run the criminal businesses and eliminate the competition… literally. Now the neighborhood belongs to them.
The Kitchen Movie Meaning & ending
Under the label ‘Vertigo Comics’ (which has since been renamed ‘DC Vertigo’), the comic giant DC publishes comic series, comic mini-series and graphic novels that cannot be combined with everyday DC life. Quite a few of these series are graphic, brutal dramas such as the socially critical “V for Vendetta”, the special forces story “The Losers” and also the crime drama “The Kitchen”, which is based on early Martin Scorsese films Crimes in New York in the 70s told – only with women in the lead role. Andrea Berloff, the screenwriter behind the gripping, meaningful hip-hop biopic “Straight Outta Compton,” was entrusted with filming the material . Initially, Berloff was hired solely for the script, but in the end it was decided to entrust her with directing as well. In her directorial debut, Berloff also shows herself in scenes as a director who will achieve even greater things with growing experience.
The ladies play by their own rules…
Because from the (by today’s Hollywood standards) narrow budget of 38 million dollars, Berloff gets a detailed 70s backdrop and an atmospheric, worn-out film aesthetic. At least for long stretches – towards the end of the film it almost seems as if “The Kitchen” has run out of steam (or money) and the authentic 70s clothes and the winding, extensively equipped locations give way to everyday sights, just like the brownish one -yellow engraving escapes from Maryse Alberti’s pictures. Berloff also knows how to stage scenes of violence in a pointed manner, just as she knows how to gradually turn a dry, dramatic “How do I dispose of a corpse?” course into a perverted, amusing flirtation between Elisabeth Moss (“ The Square”) and Domhnall Gleeson (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”) without this tonal change becoming ridiculous. Nevertheless, in “The Kitchen” Berloff still lacks the knack for achieving anything like consistency – because apart from its occasional highlights, “The Kitchen” simply babbles along trivially.
This has both narrative and cinematic reasons. The story, which begins in New York in 1978, shows how Kathy Brennan, Ruby O’Carroll and Claire Walsh, the wives of three Irish gangsters, take over their husbands’ business when they go to prison. At the beginning, the trio is told to stay out of the matter, but with a mixture of cunning, cunning, vehemence and empathy towards the right people, they quickly become gangster bosses. The support of Vietnam veteran and professional killer Gabriel O’Malley (Gleeson) also suits them…
Berloff seems to feel comfortable in this extreme situation: When the ladies use their intelligence and their friendly appearance to go against gangster conventions and get what they want, such scenes are tonally successful. Berloff finds the right style to make these scenes casual and amusing so that they don’t come across as a parody with the statement “Why else is there so much shooting?” The women can do it peacefully!”, and the dialogues are not concise, but entertaining and functional. Moss, McCarthy and Haddish’s reserved, smug acting in these scenes does the rest. The peaks of violence and sudden dramatic turns are similarly accurate. But it’s the nuances that don’t work in “The Kitchen” – and the film has a lot of them, because Berloff’s script is at the same time rushed (characters turn 180° at lightning speed in character) and slow (stomping due to the lack of nuances in the character drawing character-centric film passages on the spot). “The Kitchen” also completely lacks a perspective on being a gangster: neither is the “addictive factor of crime” tangibly conveyed, as not only “Scarface” or “Goodfellas” do, but also many imitators. And the entanglements between business and family are also not examined in detail in order to create dramaturgical pitfalls and present the characters with moral dilemmas.
Conclusion: Despite a retro hit soundtrack and committed leading actresses, “The Kitchen” is ultimately just insignificant fluff that doesn’t do anything meaningful from its gangster drama. What a damn shame.
“The Kitchen” can now be seen in selected USA cinemas.