In The Kitchen, three Irish mob wives from N.Y.'s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood get sent upriver for a liquor-store hit gone south. Those three—wonderfully played by Melissa McCarthy, Elisabeth Moss and Tiffany Haddish—learn to survive by being as bloodthirsty and brutal toward skeevy, conniving men as men have been toward them. Sharply and stylishly directed and adapted by Andrea Berloff (screenwriter of Straight Outta Compton) from Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle’s comic book series, The Kitchen—set in the late 1970s—may remind some of Widows, director Steve McQueen’s estimable but overstuffed 2018 crime movie that undercut itself with self-importance.
Both Camp and Martindale are stellar, and McCarthy, equal parts mama and monster, matches them dirty for dirty. The movie's female-empowered revenge scenes, with snappy dialogue to match, deliver the goods, too.
It’s the women who run the rackets, annihilate their competitors and get the best moments in The Kitchen.
It’s the women who run the rackets, annihilate their competitors and get the best moments in The Kitchen, but the movie also features strong work from Domhnall Gleeson (superb in his scenes opposite Moss), James Badge Dale and Brian D’Arcy James. It’s a surprisingly tough, bleak, sometimes-blistering movie, but hey, you know the old saying: If you can’t stand the heat, get out of The Kitchen.
- The cast is on fire in a tough, witty film that lets the women get the payback they deserve
- The movie stays too surface-level in examining the toll of this criminal path