Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Soul Kitchen - DVD review

Plot: Zinos owns a small diner that serves nothing but deep fried frozen foods.  A real estate agent wants the land for development, his staff haven't been paid in a while, and the tax man is after him. Meanwhile, his brother who is a con-man with a gambling debt comes to work for him, just as Zino's girlfriend dumps him.  Can he survive the next two months or will he loose everything and everyone he's worked the last few years to call his own?

This is a brilliant German film. (I had a subtitled version.)  It's a comedy and a drama all rolled into one and somehow manages to hit the right notes at the right time while still keeping it's balance.

There isn't alot of food in this foodie movie, but it does center around the diner itself.  Udo Kier has a small two minute cameo in this film, (who is usually known as a horror film icon) that adds a touch of solidness to what at times is just a light hearted display of fun. 

There is a scene where the chef makes a love potion and serves it to a packed house while a rock band is playing, giving everything to the Dionysian vibe.  And having the lead actor look like a sloppy Jim Morrison really adds a punch to the movie's title of the borrowed song Soul Kitchen. You're constantly reminded that food and music go hand in hand as both feed the senses and the ... well soul.

Again, I have to say there is a sense of balance in this film which plays up the opposites between Zinos and his brother Illias. Zinos for all his failures at the beginning is the responsible one (ironically the comedy element) where as his brother is the screw-up (ironically the dramatic element) who thinks he's got everything under control when he really does not.
We see an evolution with a few of the main characters, Zinos obviously being the one with the largest arch. The montage of his cooking skills comes right back to a basic thought, follow your heart, dedicate yourself to your passions, and of course anyone can cook. 

I would have liked to have seen a few more food scenes, but all in all, this is one to rent on a lazy Sunday afternoon. 

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