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‘The Kitchen’ Review, Exploring Netflix’s Dystopian Drama

Netflix has once again provided a feast for movie buffs everywhere. Helmed by British filmmakers Kibwe Tavares and Daniel Kaluuya, The Kitchen paints a distressing and bleak picture of London in a future that may not be too far away for our liking.

The massive disparity between the rich and the poor has forced a group of unfortunate people to live in The Kitchen, which resembles more like pathetically pieced-together Lego blocks than a housing structure for fellow humans.

The film is set in London in 2044, and the makers have efficiently set up the miserable, messy world of The Kitchen with its barbed wires, narrow streets, and crowded corridors.

The overall setting is grim, with a constant fear of attack looming over The Kitchen as police drones keep a close watch on the residents, painfully resembling prison environs.

The film begins with the main character, Izi (Kane Robinson), peering out of his heavy steel door before going out to take a bath. He is desperate to find a single-occupancy flat in the posh city, away from his miserable life in The Kitchen.

Daniel Kaluuya may not appear on-screen in The Kitchen, but his presence can be felt in almost every frame.

The new dystopian sci-fi drama, co-directed by Kaluuya and fellow first-time feature filmmaker Kibwe Tavares, sees the Oscar winner bring the same steady, unwavering style to directing that has made him one of his generation’s most revered performers. 

The Kitchen
The Kitchen

Kaluuya’s trademark stillness is occasionally filtered through the eyes of The Kitchen’s cast members, Kane Robinson and Jedaiah Bannerman. Other times, it is clear in the deliberate pace of the film’s editing, which includes shots of its actors’ faces and eyes playing out for so long that the unspoken emotions of their scenes can become overwhelming.

It is difficult to look away from the drama, which manages to hold your attention even as the story gradually drifts away from it in the second half. The film would undoubtedly benefit from a firmer, less forgiving grip.

It falls into the same trap as many other actor-directed films, in that it becomes so enamored with its characters that it loses sight of the big picture, but it also extracts more than a few heart-stopping moments from its messiness. 

In terms of directorial debuts, Kaluuya and Tavares establish themselves as filmmakers who understand character and emotion, if not narrative structure or momentum.

Boasting a stellar supporting cast that includes Hope Ikpoku Jr., Ian Wright, BackRoad Gee, Cristale, Teija Kabs, and Demmy Ladipo, “The Kitchen” is set to deliver a cinematic experience that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

An emotional climax is hinted at in the trailer when Benji confronts Izi, stating, “You never loved my mom, but you would have loved me.” 

The movie is worth watching because it has received excellent reviews.

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