When gangster husbands wind up in prison in the 1970s, their wives take over their organization and become Hell’s Kitchen’s most powerful mobsters.
Firstly, I didn’t realize until the movie started that it is based on the Vertigo comic miniseries of the same name. It makes no difference because at the end of the day it’s a badass gangster film. Directed and written by Andrea Berloff co-writer of Straight Outta Compton, The Kitchen takes place in Hells Kitchen, New York in 1978. The vibe of the movie immediately felt like a mixture of a Shaft film and Goodfellas, very gritty yet vibrant. Whatever you expected to see after watching the trailer, forget it. While the trailer intrigued me, it did the movie no justice. DC and New Line Cinema, who produced the film are a fantastic pair. Gangster films have always had a special place in American culture. We all love a story where people at the bottom rise to dethrone the undeserving. Additionally, we love the accents/slang, the guns, and the art of the hustle. There’s now a mob trio to rival Liotta, De Niro, and Pesci. I thoroughly enjoyed the film.
The film follows three women that are part of an Irish mob family in Hells Kitchen, New York in the late 70s. One was born into the mob while the other two were married into it the family. When the husbands of the three women go to prison the ladies are left with scraps. With no help from the crime family, the trio decides that if they want money they have to get it on their own. Going against the family and to overthrow the new head of the organization wasn’t the initial plan but it had to be done. First with finesse and later by force, the ladies become well known by everyone in the neighborhood. The film moves a little too quick for me in the beginning. I felt there could’ve been a tad bit more build-up. Other than that, the film moves pretty seamlessly with a nice funky soundtrack and great cinematography. The questions I was left with are only questions a mobster could answer. I for once couldn’t predict the ending. It felt good to be surprised by the twist. However, I was suspicious of somebody that I won’t name. There were a few parts that I wasn’t sure if they were supposed to be comical or not. The only downside to having two well known comedic actors is sometimes we don’t take them seriously. At times if a line is delivered a certain way we laugh when we shouldn’t. Funny is funny though, right? However, with that being said, I do believe comedic actors have the most range.
The chemistry between these ladies was great, full of fire and tension. All of them had their own agenda while trying to reach the same goal. Kathy(Melissa McCarthy) is a leader, strategic, and motherly. Ruby( Tiffany Haddish) is smart, fierce, and doesn’t take no for an answer. Claire(Elisabeth Moss) is tough, sweet, and murderous. Together, they are damn near unstoppable. The character transitions were amazing to watch, especially Moss’s character. Haddish was definitely a scene-stealer with her commanding performance. While Moss relayed her performance more through action than dialogue. McCarthy was fantastic, dramatic roles suit her just as well as comedy. I will say, their accents felt a little over the top at times but it’s not that noticeable. Lastly, I believe a fan favorite will be the character, Gabriel O’Mally played by Domhnall Gleeson.
The Kitchen releases in theaters everywhere on August 9th.
4 out of 5
Observing the human race since 1988.