Daniel Kaluuya and Kibwe Tavares have tried to make something very special by directing the movie titled The Kitchen. A somber tale of the bond between a boy and a man in a dystopian world adds so many colors to the palette that wouldn’t have been possible in a simpler story. The Kitchen rests on the performances and the mood created by cinematographer Wyatt Garfield. There is a melancholy of the new world that is so palpable that it doesn’t let the story take any ‘thrilling’ turns, and we are made to stew in the emotions that the lead characters are wrestling with. Kane Robinson brings a measured restraint to his performances that creates the required illusion of the weight on his shoulder of dystopian reality, while Jedaiah Bannerman is brilliant at testing his restraint.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
The story is set in London in a future where people have been displaced from their homes, but there is a community that refuses to leave their colony named ‘The Kitchen’. Its head is a man named Lord Kitchener, and Isaac, aka Izi, is one of the residents of this society. The kitchen faces the brunt of the police, and they are somehow managing to make do with the very few resources they have to scrounge for. The government wants them gone and wants the ones who can afford the rent to live in the posh areas. Izi is also preparing to move out of ‘The Kitchen’ to live in Buena Vida, one of the better places with a constant water supply. Izi starts saving up for the deposit on his 1-room apartment by working for ‘Life After Life,’ a company specializing in death care. Izi’s life undergoes a change when the son of his now deceased ex-girlfriend finds him working for the company.
How Did Benji And Izi Bond?
The company Izi worked for named a plant after the recently deceased, planted it somewhere, and gave a month for the grievers to visit the plant. This was the temporary grave of the deceased. Toni Clarke was now dead, and Benji, her 12-year-old son, had become an orphan. He had no one, but he noticed Izi paying close attention to Toni’s plant. Benji had no one to take care of him, so he approached Izi. Izi declined and lied about having known Toni for just a little while and having no intention to take care of Benji. But Izi returned and took Benji with him to ‘The Kitchen’. Benji had just one possession with him, and that was his bicycle, which Toni had given him as a gift. Life in ‘The Kitchen’ was very difficult. There was little to no water supply, and that wasn’t even the worst thing. Lord Kitchener used to give speeches from the radio that played in everyone’s rooms about how, if everyone in the colony showed solidarity, the government would have to bow down to their demands. There was a lot of violence, given the disparity of income in The Kitchen and other regions. The gangs operated from the lower floors of the Kitchen, while Kitchener occupied the highest floor. The housing society spread to a considerable area, and people had to look after their own. Benji walked into such an environment, and immediately he was taken under the wing of one such gang, which worried Izi, but he tried to play it cool, as he had maintained that there was little to no connection with Toni and he wasn’t Benji’s father.
How Did Lord Kitchener Die?
Benji was surely testing Izi to see when he would show some care. His mother had told him about Izi, and he believed Izi was his real father. So Benji wanted his love and affection, but there was no direct way to ask for it. Even the gang members, Staples, Oozie, and Dirt, were surprised to see that Izi was being protective of Benji, the new kid on the block. But there was no commitment from Izi’s side. Benji was getting restless as to how he would survive, and he asked him to let him stay with him indefinitely, which Izi had never promised. But seeing the young boy, his mind changed, and he planned to stall giving the deposit for his one-room apartment in Buena Vida and started to look for a double occupancy, which could cost him a lot. Meanwhile, the police raided ‘The Kitchen’ and assaulted Lord Kitchener, and he didn’t survive the police brutality. This started a chain of events that made Izi face his issues and do the right thing.
Why Had Izi Left Benji?
Before the raid, Benji had quite a good relationship with Izi. The situation changed when Benji asked to move in with him. Izi had looked up the double occupancy, but procuring the money for the deposit was just too much of a task, and he would have had to let go of the single occupancy as well. Izi left Benji in ‘The Kitchen’ and moved into his one-room apartment without notifying him. So he had basically abandoned Benji, the naive boy who was thinking that Izi was there to take care of him.
After Lord Kitchener’s death, the gangs planned to create total mayhem in the city. Benji, with no guidance from anybody, had only Staples to follow. He participated in the destruction of property in the city, and the gangs had made their point. But the repercussions were to follow. Izi was not able to get Benji out of his mind even after settling down in the new apartment. He found out about Lord Kitchener’s death and sensed that things were going to fall apart in ‘The Kitchen’. Izi was well aware that after the stunt pulled off by Staples, the police were going to come in with vengeance, and he was correct. Izi returned to ‘The Kitchen’ out of a sense of responsibility and saved Benji from the police attack. He had never really done anything the little boy had asked him to do, but he did manage to get Toni’s plant.
During the end of The Kitchen, Benji and Izi were trapped in their room, and the police were banging on the door. There was Staples and his gang, who had trapped a few officers and were planning to do the worst to them. The situation was dire, and all Benji could do was if Izi was his father, and there was a slight nod. But then Izi changed his statement and made it sound like he would take care of Benji ‘as if’ he were his father, putting doubt back again if he were his father. That didn’t really matter much, as the door was probably banged open, and they had to face the brunt of what Staples and the gangs had done. I think Izi was not sure that he was Benji’s father, but he genuinely wanted to take care of him, and if they are alive, having survived the crushing blows of the police batons, they will stay together in the new apartment. The worst-case scenario would be Izi ending up dead, as he had attacked a police officer earlier to get through to his room, and they weren’t going to let him go unscathed. In that case, Benji was again going to be left an orphan and would have to join a gang to survive.