Friday, January 19, 2024

The Kitchen (2024)

Streaming Service: Netflix 
Movie Name/Year: The Kitchen (2024) 
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi 
Length: 1h 47min 
Rating: R 
Directors: Daniel Kaluuya, Kibwe Tavares 
Writers: Daniel Kaluuya, Joe Murtagh
Actors: Kane "Kano" Robinson, Hope Ikpoku Jr., Henry Lawfull, Reuben 'Trizzy' Nyamah, BackRoad Gee, Cristale, Alan Asaad, Rasaq Kukoyi, Demmy Ladipo, Jedaiah Bannerman, Fiona Marr, Ian Wright, Teija Kabs, Rania Chakir, Tiarnae Fearon-Spencer, Olivia-Rose Colliard
IMDb Blurb: In a dystopian future London where all social housing has been eliminated, Izi and Benji fight to navigate the world as residents of The Kitchen, a community that refuses to abandon their home. 
Cat’s Point of View: 
My impression of The Kitchen was complicated.
First, I don’t necessarily feel entirely misled by the trailer because all the promised elements were within the film. It was, however, presented at a different pace than teased in the promotional material. There was less of a thrilling aspect and more of a slow-burning family and societal drama unfolding, instead. I also question that The Kitchen was labeled as an “adventure.” It was dystopian and subtly sci-fi, but all too close to current reality in everything other than some aspects of the setting and the technology displayed.
On one hand, I appreciated that there was no long-winded explanations spoon-feeding me the story of how the world – or, more specifically, London -- had come to this state of being. The flip-side of that, though, is that there needed to be a significant amount of context within the story and visuals of the movie to build the background for what wasn’t said outright.
When I read the synopsis for The Kitchen on sites such as IMDb before sitting down to write, I had an “Oh!” moment because aspects of the plot became clear only then. I am pretty sure I was glued to the screen the entire runtime of this film and I simply did not pick up on some of the facts. I understood the element of gentrification at play against the residents of the housing block where the primary characters resided, but not the political aspect behind it. I still have so many questions that the abrupt ending didn’t resolve for me.
On the other hand, The Kitchen was a powerful and emotional story about community and the building of a paternal bond between a reluctant, perhaps unsuspecting, man and a young boy. The Kitchen really shined through these story elements and how they struggled to find common ground and their own right paths. The whole housing situation played a role, but that and the dystopian and futuristic aspects of this tale took a backseat to the dramatic search for family and connection in the wake of grief.
In spite of the fact that I was lacking answers to some aspects of the world this story was set in, the subtlety of how life in future London was portrayed was rather impressive. It was more realistic and believable than huge leaps of technology as we often see with the flying transportation, holograms everywhere, and cybernetics galore. It helped ground everything with a sense that it was believable and could actually happen – rather than disconnecting the audience as a clear work of fiction.
I was impressed to learn that this was the feature directorial debut for Kibwe Tavares (Robots of Brixton, Jonah, Robot & Scarecrow) and Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Judas and the Black Messiah, Nope). This was a visually stunning opening foray for this pair and I am looking forward to seeing what they bring audiences in the future, as they refine their craft.
I’m not sure that The Kitchen would be my go-to recommendation if looking for an adventurous sci-fi film on Netflix. If you were, however, looking for a significant drama with a sci-fi flair, then this might be something up your alley.
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 86%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 55%
Metascore – 68%
Metacritic User Score – None 
IMDB Score – 5.3/10 
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3/5 
Movie Trailer:

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