Starring: Kane Robinson, Jedaiah Bannerman, Hope Ikpoku Jr., Teija Kabs, Demmy Ladipo, Cristale, BackRoad Gee, Rasaq Kukoyi, Reuben ‘Trizzy’ Nyamah, Henry Lawfull, Alan Asaad, and Ian Wright
Directors: Kibwe Tavares and Daniel Kaluuya
While The Kitchen exposes the housing crisis and demonstrates the meaning of “found family” through community in a somewhat original manner, the actual narrative of this lo-fi, dystopian flick is presented in an uninteresting way. The grounded story is such a slow burn that it doesn’t do enough with its concept to allow it to come entirely to fruition. Overall, The Kitchen has potential and promise; its ideas just aren’t fully explored. I'm hoping co-director Daniel Kaluuya learns from the storytelling mistakes made here.
While I want to give credit to first time feature directors Kibwe Tavares and Daniel Kaluuya, it’s a hard ask given how incredibly boring The Kitchen is. It’s the slowest of slow burns, and no amount of impressive world-building and timely themes can help a story that mostly meanders about for a very long 107 minutes. Also, Netflix is billing this movie as sci-fi, which…I guess, if only going by the very loosest of genre definitions. Tavares and Kaluuya show some technical promise behind the camera, for sure, but Kaluuya, who also co-wrote the script with Joe Murtagh, needs to work on his storytelling abilities.
The Kitchen is less a sci-fi thriller and more of a social-realist dystopian drama that I nevertheless found emotionally engaging and exciting. The film paints a different but eerily similar portrait of a near-future Britain, like a chilling cautionary tale that highlights the issues already existing within the system, which is underscored by compelling emotional drama. Although the story gets lost at times, it is redeemed by impactful performances from Kane Robinson and Jedaiah Bannerman, as well as the impressive way in which co-directors Daniel Kaluuya and Kibwe Tavares portray the solidarity and vibrant energy of the close-knit community of The Kitchen.