The Stream: Unbelievably predictable at every step of the way.
The Big Screen: Women’s empowerment message and a few good laughs.
The Final Bill: If this were a Netflix Original, this would’ve been worth your time.-S2S
Run time: 1 hour 39 minutes
We want to welcome you back to Stream to Big Screen. This week we were able to screen a new release, The Kitchen, with a star-studded cast featuring Tiffany Haddish as Ruby O’Carroll, Melissa McCarthy as Kathy Brennan and Elisabeth Moss as Claire Walsh. Apparently, this movie is based off of a DC Vertigo Comics series of the same name.
The movie is set in the late 1970s smack in the middle of New York City. More specifically, the action focuses on the gang/mob relations in Hell’s Kitchen. AH HA, that’s why it’s called The Kitchen. You’re catching on fast. From what I can tell you from the trailer (no spoilers ever and see the trailer below), this movie is about the the occurrences of the three previously mentioned ladies once their husbands go to jail and how they try to take over in their husbands’ place in the Irish mob. Sounds interesting or does it sound exactly like every other starter mob/gangster movie we’ve ever seen? I think the latter. Side note, the trailer for this movie is epic. Sadly, I cannot say the same for the film.
As you saw in the trailer, this movie is dark and tough. Unfortunately, the final product was not able to capture that same grittiness. The movie at times was raw, but, more often than not, the stars were portrayed as too vulnerable even at the moments they should’ve been their toughest. I’m not sure if that was poor acting or poor directing. Overall, I think each lady portrayed their characters well, but, at times, each seemed to rely on what has worked for their previous movie character. Moss was too often Of-Fred instead of Claire Walsh. Haddish made me feel like I was in Night School instead of a 1978-79 mob period piece. Don’t get me started on McCarthy. Nonetheless, each were enjoyable.
Unfortunately, the character arcs of each of these women were the same as every mob movie ever. I was so disappointed in the writers and producers of this movie for the relying on the same old tropes. The film excelled in moving us back into the gritty 1970s aesthetically and mentally. The viewer truly feels like they are walking through the dirty, porn theater full, and crime infested times of NYC. But for some reason the cast seemed as if they were moving independently form the scenery. I felt like I was being told a story that I’ve already seen a million times with a new background scenery but without any depth for these characters.
From the beginning of the movie until the end, I felt either the movie pacing was off /moving too fast or I was missing a story-line or detail that needed to be developed. And what made that worse is that I already knew exactly what was going to happen. The most surprising thing in this movie lacked power because of the writing and directing. A reveal occurs, but if you’ve been paying any attention to the movie, you notice the clues have been blatantly placed throughout the movie. This twist while still good lacked that “knock you on your butt” impact it could have had. On top of that, don’t get me started on the lack of continuity of the ending.
What I will say is, the theme of women’s empowerment is strong in this one; however, I feel the director undercut themselves throughout the movie. Even when they are saying they don’t need male validation, they ultimately were still seeking it or desired it. It made me question the true motives.
Long story short, this was a Netflix or Amazon Prime Original movie at best. Luckily, I did not pay for this movie but I truly wouldn’t suggest investing the money on this movie. I do believe it is worth the watch once it’s hit digital media.
P.S. If you know anyone that’s read the Vertigo Comics, please tell them to watch the movie and let us know what they thought.