The Kitchen

The Kitchen
The Kitchen
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The Kitchen is a near-future dystopian story about affordable housing and nearly impenetrable police states in London. Starting from the problem of unaffordable homes, we witness how “the kitchen” can almost be read as a damning prophesy for what our society will look like when the gap between rich and poor increases to even worse extremes.

In the Kitchen, which is a mutated stack of buildings like those one could have found in Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City, Izi (Kane Robinson) resides. The Kitchen, located away from inner-city London, is where city’s poorest people live and often experience fierce violent raids by the police. Working at Life After Life futuristic funeral service based in the city center allows him to pay off his debts. He works here with other women who are tasked with turning people into trees after death because they cannot afford proper burial services. Anticipating that his community is on the brink of a final takeover from the government, they have been prepping and saving up to move out of the Kitchen. On his own Izi has no friends but acquaintances; this fact is underlined later in that he did not know that close friend had a daughter. He lives only for himself so when recently orphaned Benji (Jedaiah Bannerman) crosses paths with him things become complicated.

The next thing you know there’s a boy clinging to him: first at Life After Life and then inside “the kitchen” itself where ultimately he gets involved with a group of young activist thugs called vigilantes. Because he felt that Izi needed protection, Benji formed an attachment to him one day while staying over at his place which keeps Izi connected to ‘home’. They must all face their own personal conflicts together against backdrops of increasing raids on their residence; hence both boys are being shown what it means to journey through life again but now with someone else for Benji.

The direction of Kaluuya and Tavares is the film’s best aspect by far. From kinetic scenes of staggering tension to meditative sequences that peek into the characters’ interiorities, the film never wavers on its emotional efficacy. The Kitchen world building was done quite well; it is named so because when an invasion comes, all they do is bang spoons against pots and pans. There are lots of colors ranging from rusted stone walls to neon lights as well as a lot of other shades in between when visiting the underground party scene. 

“The Kitchen” could have just been another film that showed the culture of this community as being nothing but tragedy and suffering. This would have made it so much easier to brand it as a heartrending symbol of poverty, but it doesn’t go that route at all. It appreciates the existence of life, and yet there are inconspicuous elements that validate the thoughtful exposition of its world. Early in The Kitchen, we see that water has been cut off from one side of this vast estate because they are no longer under the city; there is also a constant hum of police drones invading their space. These are not overt plot points but peripheral details which reflect both resource scarcity and excessive monitoring in such neighborhoods. The film also spends a considerable time exploring everyday human comedy, slipping in such instances of growing up as Benji’s first kiss attempt. Further comic relief comes through Black cultural references; from playful rap battles to roller skating rink and great music selections by Sampha and David Ruffin.

Bannerman and Robinson’s performances do come across as subtly hinting at what their respective characters may be thinking or feeling inside themselves. While still displaying this extremely plausible bond between two individualistic figures who finally met one another. Bannerman plays an innocent character who provides an interesting contrast with Robinson’s indifferent behavior; consequently, they seem to trade-off their attributes quite well.

However, despite its highly immersive world-building effort as well as direction, sometimes “The Kitchen” script itself becomes entangled within its own complexities thus biting off more than it can chew. The play is a little too unclear And even though one might call these some loose ends left open for interpretation, they feel simply unanswered like not knowing what sequels will follow next.” On the other hand, after Izi leaves (and indeed before), this script does not go back over its own steps to remind us how much thought went into creating the universe wherein these characters live, thus leaving everything unresolved.

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