The Following Blu-ray was provided to me by Warner Brothers for Review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
I bet you didn’t know that there are lots of films based off of comic books that are not about superheroes. Films like Ghost World, History of Violence, even the Tom Hanks classic Road to Perdition. None have superheroes and there all quiet good. DC Comics, who in my opinion have the best characters have a line of comics under the Vertigo banner. Vertigo tends to feature more adult themed stories. One of those was published in 2014 entitled The Kitchen. Set in Hells Kitchen in the 70’s it featured a group of women who take over the husbands places in the mafia when they are sent to jail. Warner Brother adapted this film for the big screen and pulled out all the stops for star power. Melissa McCarthy (a favorite of mine) Tiffany Haddish, and Elisabeth Moss played the leads in this gritty R Rated Film.
Kathy (McCarthy), Ruby (Haddish), and Claire (Moss) are all married to members of the Irish mob in the late 70’s. When there husbands are all arrested after a robbery gone south the women are told by the acting boss, Little Jackie, that he will take care of their financial needs while there husbands are in jail. The problem becomes twofold. The money they are being funneled is not enough to survive on, and two the local merchants who are paying the mob “Protection” money, are not being protected. There just essentially being shaken down by Little Jackie. So the ladies get the idea to take over for their husbands in their absence. The begin offering protection to local shops and in the process gain not only the support of the Irish community but anger Little Jacki in the process as they are cutting in on his profits. He seek to kill them but is murdered by Gabriel O’Malley, a mob enforcer that Ruby convinces to help them. He doesn’t mind as he falls in love with Claire and the two become romantically involved.
The three take over the mob in there are and soon control the entire neighborhood. Problem is they get noticed by the Italian Mafia, Alfonso Coretti to be exact and he wants a piece. He gets their husbands released from jail as part of his plan to take power away from them as they will want there place in the mob back. It also is bad for Claire as her abusive husband is not exactly fine with her having left him for Gabriel. That sets up the third act power struggle that begins to threaten and engulf the three.
Blasted by critics and fans a like I have no problem saying that this is an amazing film, based on an amazing comic book. Gritty, violent, bloody, well-acted, this is a hard R gender swap mob film that really deserves to be seen. McCarthy is great in this, as Kathy. Playing a loving and supporting wife and mother to her kids who is also a hard nosed leader of her gang. She plays her part hard nosed but with compassion as well. Haddish is fine in her role as Ruby, but with the exception of her backstory of having a horrible time being accepted by her mother in law she really has nothing to do until the third act of the film. But its clearly Moss as Claire who steals the film. She goes from a timid beaten and abused housewife to a fierce killer. The way she begins to accept and even embrace violence, even committing murder herself we really get to see her character grow. I cant praise enough how well she does in exploring every avenue of her part and transforming it as the film progresses.
Passed up at the box office you now will have your chance to watch this again as Warner Brothers will be releasing it on November 5th. The transfer is remarkable as always with fantastic picture and sound. The transfers at Warner are so well done it almost as if you see the film on the big screen, then watch again at home, you’re seeing an entirely different film. It also includes a few very interesting special features.
Running Hell’s Kitchen Featurette
Taking of the Neighborhood Featurette
It’s a great film that boasts a great story, and a fantastic cast. I really enjoyed every minute of it. Its based on a great comic that you should pick up and read as well. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up and give it a watch.
Overall 4 out of 5 Stars!