Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Movie Review: Soul Kitchen

Soul Kitchen ***
Directed By:
Faith Akin.
Written By: Fatih Akin & Adam Bousdoukos.
Starring: Adam Bousdoukos, Moritz Bleibtreu, Birol √únel, Anna Bederke, Lucas Gregorowicz, Udo Kier

Director Faith Akin is mainly known for his gritty, realistic social dramas like Head-On and The Edge of Heaven. His films are dark examinations of immigrant cultures in Germany that take an unflinching look at the problems in modern Europe – particularly that of Turkish immigrants living in Germany. It must be exhausting making such dark movies all the time, which is why I think Akin made Soul Kitchen – an exuberant, fun comedy about two Greek brothers in Hamburg running a restaurant. While this film may not be as wonderful as Akin’s more serious work, it sure is a lot of fun to watch.

Zinos (Adam Bousdoukos) runs Soul Kitchen, a dive of a restaurant that serves frozen food that he deep fries to a lowly clientele, who seems happy with the result. His restaurant always seems to have customers, but is never very busy. His girlfriend has decided to take a job in Shanghai, and although she wants him to go with her, he refuses. At her farewell dinner, in a fancy restaurant, Zinos meets the chef, who is dissatisfied with his job, and ends up being fired. This gives Zinos an idea – he’ll hire this chef to class up his restaurant. At first, the result is disaster, as his loyal customers do not like the change. But gradually, Soul Kitchen starts to come around. He allows a local band to start playing there, after the government takes his stereo, and with the band comes new clients – who love the food. Soon, the restaurant is thriving.

But things do are not as rosy as they seem. His brother is released from jail, and resumes his irresponsible ways. The health department is unimpressed with the state of the kitchen, and an old school friend wants to buy the restaurant as part as of his redevelopment plan for Hamburg. These elements, plus the fact that he thrown his back out and is in extreme pain all the time makes for a comedy that keeps getting stranger.

Soul Kitchen has nothing on its mind other than being a lightweight entertainment and in that it succeeds wonderfully. Akin is too good of a director to take the make too much of a lark of the movie. Even if this movie is lightweight, the movie still has a wonderful visual look, and it is paced terrifically for its first two acts. The movie does go on at least 20 minutes too long, as the plot twists at least one of two times too many. But that’s a minor complaint. Soul Kitchen is a fun movie pretty much from beginning to end. A real treat of a movie.

No comments:

Post a Comment