"Reel Reviews:‘The Kitchen’ heats up as mob family splits" by: Jessica Shepard

   “The Kitchen” is a crime drama film written and directed by Andrea Berloff, in her directorial debut. 
   The film is based on the Vertigo comic book miniseries of the same name by Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle. 
   The film stars an ensemble cast, featuring Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, and Elisabeth Moss as the wives of Irish mobsters who take over organized crime operations in the 1970s in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood after the FBI arrests their husbands. 
   The film also features Domhnall Gleeson, James Badge Dale, Brian d’Arcy James, with Margo Martindale, Common, E.J. Bonilla, Myk Watford, John Sharian, Brian Tarantina, and Bill Camp in supporting roles.
   In 1978 in Hell’s Kitchen, three women are married to members of the Irish mob: Kathy Brennan (McCarthy) and her husband, Jimmy (James), have two kids. 
   Jimmy is kind and wants to leave the mob while Ruby O’Carroll (Haddish) is married to Kevin (Dale), who’s the son of Helen and heir to the mob empire. 
   Finally, Claire Walsh (Moss) is married to Rob (Bobb), who is abusive towards her. 
   One night while robbing a convenience store, FBI Agents Silvers (Common) and Martinez (Bonilla), who have been trailing them, busts the husbands, who are then sentenced to three years in prison.
   Little Jackie (Watford) becomes the head of the mob with his older brother Kevin in jail. 
   He tells the three wives that he will make sure they are taken care of, but gives them each a tiny pittance. 
   But, it isn’t enough – not by a long shot and after falling short on rent and suffering the down and outs of life they later ask Jackie for more money, but he viciously denies them. 
   Kathy tries to find a job but no one will hire her because she’s a mother. 
   The women are at a loss for what to do and overhear around the neighborhood that despite all the local business paying their protection fees to the mob, they have seen very little results under Little Jackie. 
   The women seize the opening, using Kathy’s cousin Duffy (Sharian) and friend Burns (Tarantina) to be their enforcers.
      They begin collecting protection fees and helping out the neighborhood, making a huge profit and becoming beloved in the community.
   When Little Jackie finds out, he has his goons beat up of Duffy and Burns, who tell the ladies they’re done. 
   The women confront Little Jackie and declare that they are in charge now, and Little Jackie assures them they’ll be dead by morning. 
   The next morning while Claire is taking out the trash, Jackie assaults her in the alley and begins to attempt to rape her – but he is shot in the head by Gabriel O’Malley (Gleeson), a former Irish mob enforcer and war vet who had been in hiding until Ruby called him – and he always loved Claire.
   Things can only get better or worse from there, right?
   We get to see that mob life isn’t all that glamorous and how power corrupts everything it touches.
   Still, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie and enjoyed it far too much.
   The Kitchen is rated R for violence, language throughout and some sexual content.

 

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