Move Over, Deadpool; ‘The Kitchen’ Gives Gals The Anti-hero Spotlight
Aug 7, 2019, 10:17 AM | Updated: 7:57 pm
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – When you hear the word “anti-hero,” you probably conjure an image of a foul-mouthed mutant from the Marvel Comics world.
This adaptation of the DC / Vertigo comic book “The Kitchen” is here to give that guy a run for his money. It stars not one but three tough ladies who you’ll be rooting for despite their many deplorable actions.
In Hell’s Kitchen in the 1970s, it’s a man’s world. The neighborhood is run by men, and the women are expected to make dinner, put the kids to bed, and obey their husbands.
After their men are thrown in jail, though, three gangsters’ wives decide to take things into their own hands when they find they’re not getting the support they were promised.
Kathy (Melissa McCarthy), Ruby (Tiffany Haddish) and Claire (Elizabeth Moss) pick up the slack left by their husbands’ departure, using the skills of gunman Gabriel (Domhnall Gleeson) to climb their way to the top of the mob mountain. As they gather strength and power, though, they also gather enemies.
Not only is the story a lot of fun, but it’s also genuine.
The most immediately amazing aspect of “The Kitchen” is the performance by the three leading ladies. McCarthy and Haddish, especially, surprise in their roles as dominant, take-no-nonsense gangster bosses — a serious departure from the roles both are known for.
McCarthy’s character is especially compelling as she takes on the big bad guys of New York City while taking care of her two young kids. One scene gave me goosebumps as she describes her motivations to her dad while the two attend a funeral.
I must confess, though, that I felt more of a personal connection with Haddish’s Ruby. (Don’t judge me too harshly once you’ve seen this film.)
Moss, for her part, has a magnificent character arc, although it’s often reminiscent of her role in Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” I think she’s an amazing actor (see “Us” if you haven’t already!), and I look forward to seeing much more of her on the big screen.
SOUND ON: Watch the new music video for @TheHighwomen’s cover of “The Chain” from #TheKitchenMovie soundtrack! Don’t miss THE KITCHEN, only in theaters Friday: https://t.co/kXWbFbqjWj pic.twitter.com/DqPY0x1CGG
— The Kitchen Movie (@KitchenMovie) August 7, 2019
The unsung star of this movie, though, is Margo Martindale as Ruby’s mother in-law — otherwise known as the character you love to hate. When she’s on screen, it’s impossible to pay attention to anyone else. Her rancor is almost visceral, and I spent all of my time simultaneously wishing we could get more of her and pining for her demise.
It truly is a testament to excellent writing and superb acting.
In her feature-length directorial debut, Andrea Berloff was an excellent choice to helm a story of powerful women.
She plays with 70s-style film techniques that help transport us back in time, and it’s actually very refreshing to see a movie that doesn’t rely on shaky cam to portray action or slow-motion walking scenes to indicate sexual power.
Berloff’s style is subtle — and very effective.
“The Kitchen” is a story of strong women told by strong women. More of this, please, Hollywood!
I wouldn’t necessarily say “The Kitchen” is the type of movie that must be seen on a big screen to be fully-enjoyed, and in fact I look forward to grabbing a copy of it once it’s available on digital so I can watch it again at home. However, it does deserve your money, so if you can see it in theaters, you should.
Oh, and by the way, the soundtrack is beyond amazing.
“The Kitchen” is rated R for violence, language and some sexual content.