Netflix’s The Kitchen Has Some Audiences Confused About The Storyline

By Louie Fecou
Published: January 23, 2024 (Last updated: last month)
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Fans think The Kitchen on Netflix is "confusing" and "incomplete"
The Kitchen | Image via Netflix

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS

The Kitchen is probably not the film you think it is, which is why so many people who watch it have found the storyline so confusing. The narrative uses the dystopian setting of a downtrodden near-future London to tell a story about parenthood, but many fans have expressed difficulty in latching onto the themes and the story’s intentions.

Why are some audiences confused about The Kitchen?

If you watch the trailer for The Kitchen, it does look like a sci-fi thriller, with plenty of action set pieces and a future world that looks like the one we live in, but with some obvious differences. However, it seems that many have stumbled upon the film thinking it may indeed be an action-adventure, which to a certain extent it is, but are left wondering about what the film is trying to say about society and the world.

Early reactions from viewers on social media were indeed confusion:

The film does not explain many elements of its setting out of the gate. It allows us to put the pieces together by watching what happens, which some would argue is as it should be, however, it fails to connect a lot of dots even by the end. Even viewers who stick with the film until the end, like the ones below, expressed disappointment that the film’s better ideas never quite coalesced into anything meaningful.

This feeling of incompleteness was reflected elsewhere. On TikTok, user @mimss5_ suggested that the film would have perhaps been better served as a series, and also highlighted that the cliffhanger ending seemed like it was more in service of a potential sequel than a legitimate climax:

@mimss5_

Whats everyones thoughts on “The Kitchen” on netflix #fyp #netflix #thekitchen

? original sound – mims

However, not everyone felt this way, and some defended the film on the basis of it being very specifically relevant to a lived experience that the people struggling to understand it perhaps didn’t share:

@majascinema

Quick(ish) impromptu review of The Kitchen on Netflix while I’m covered in dog hair watching movies on a Saturday Night ?? #TheKitchen #FilmReview #Netflix #Movies #Moviereview #filmtok #netflixreview

? original sound – Maja?????

The film explores themes of community, family, discord, and social status, and how we may be striving for a life we feel is better than the one we have, without realizing that those aspirations may be feeding into the problem and making things worse for others. Our main protagonist Izi longs for a better place to live, but the sterile and soulless accommodation he seeks may be part of the nightmare that his peers are fighting against.

The underlying themes of the screenplay also include commentary on the nature of gentrification and social cleansing, using the science fiction of The Kitchen to make us think about the world that we are living in today. It may be the deeper undercurrents of the production that are leaving some viewers wondering what the film is about.

What is Netflix’s The Kitchen about?

On TikTok, some viewers asked this question outright, pondering several underexplained plot elements out loud:

@jessflorence_

Anyone eles confused? ?????? #thekitchen #kano #netflix #confused #fyp #foryou

? original sound – JESSFLORENCE

The Kitchen follows Izi, living in one of the last remaining examples of social housing, known to everyone as The Kitchen. Izi wants a better life and aims for a higher standard of living, but the society that surrounds him is cruel and oppressive. When he encounters the young Benji, who has recently lost his mother, the pair bond, discovering things about each other, and themselves, as they fight to survive in the dystopian future London.

While the film explores the relationship between the two characters, arguably the strongest part of the film, the world that surrounds them hints at the kind of sci-fi tropes that we are more familiar with. Gangs of bikers pulling heists, and a police force that is working against the people, not protecting them, backed by government dealings, bubble under the surface of the plot and add to the world-building, but are left possibly deliberately underdeveloped in the script. The focus is very much on the characters and their journey.

The Kitchen is about many things, but it does seem to push the viewer into believing the relationship of the leads and leaves the more underlying themes of gentrification, oppression, and social reconstruction open to interpretation.

Who is knocking at the door?

Depending on how you look at it, the most obvious answer is the police are breaking down the door, but it could be read that the predominantly selfish Izi may now be facing the ire of other residents of The Kitchen, and the pounding on the door is a call back to the first scene of the film, where we see Izi taking his time in the shower while other residents bang on the door awaiting their chance to use the facility.

Metaphorically speaking, the pounding on the door could be taken as Izi’s misgivings breaking into his world. Izi’s actions have hurt those around him, and although he shows empathy for Benji, it is hinted that he may be Benji’s father, and now that he has ascended to the social standing he wanted so badly, he realizes that it is just an illusion, like the view from his video screen window, and reality is always waiting to break down the door.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the film too, so if you have your own take on the movie, let us know in the comments below.


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