This heartfelt and well-acted film, co-directed by Kibwe Tavares and Daniel Kaluuya, takes place in a chaotic London housing estate known as “the Kitchen” in the near future. It draws inspiration from French banlieue movies and postmodern alienation, while also presenting a slightly sentimental and realistic family drama. However, despite its energetic action, the film’s ending feels somewhat restricted in terms of plot development.
The Kitchen scene depicted on screen is impressively crafted with stunning special effects. It showcases a dilapidated housing block, surrounded by luxurious new apartments for the wealthy elite. Despite the city’s decision to demolish the Kitchen and the authoritative order for residents to vacate, the community refuses to leave. They have built their homes and formed a tight-knit community here, despite the poverty. There is a vibrant and bustling atmosphere present.
Izi, portrayed by Kane Robinson who is both an actor and a musician, is a diligent individual who works for a peculiar eco-funeral company known as Life After Life. This company offers the service of blending ashes from cremation with seedlings to create a commemorative plant. Izi is well aware of the harsh reality of living in the Kitchen and is determined to save up for a contemporary apartment in the expansive property development that is causing strain on the Kitchen. The film cleverly draws attention to the eerie similarity between the apartments and the gardens of the funeral plant.
While at work, Izi realizes that a regular service is being held for a woman he used to date in the sterile, chapel-like memorial areas of the facility. The woman’s troubled teenage son, Benji (also known as Jedaiah Bannerman) is the only mourner present and also happens to be a resident in the Kitchen. Izi and Benji form an uneasy friendship, both aware of an unspoken possibility between them. As tension rises in the Kitchen due to the impending arrival of armed police, Benji must choose between aligning with radical delinquents or sticking with the compassionate but flawed Izi. And as Izi contemplates a potential future with Benji, he must also make a decision about their relationship.
The film includes some high-profile action scenes, including a robbery of an online food delivery van and a quick theft at a fancy jewelry store. These scenes are impressive and serve as a commentary on social inequality rather than just being exciting for the sake of it. The relationship between Izi and Benji is the real focus of the movie, with some humorous moments sprinkled in – such as when Izi has to navigate through automated prompts when paying his deposit for his flat. Overall, this film is thought-provoking and engaging.