Hell’s Kitchen (1998)

hellskitchen_1998_poster
Hell’s Kitchen (1998)
  • Time: 101 min
  • Genre: Drama | Crime
  • Director: Tony Cinciripini
  • Cast: Mekhi Phifer, Angelina Jolie, William Forsythe, Rosanna Arquette

Storyline:

When a robbery goes awry, the bandits all end up in a puddle of blood and only one lives and goes to jail for five years. Upon his release, the girlfriend wants her new boyfriend to kill him. Only trouble is the boyfriend knows that the fault was not the ex-con’s and can’t bring himself to do the town. Meanwhile, the ex-con tries to turn his life around by becoming a boxer and training under a former heavyweight contender.

One review

  • Even famous actors today had to start somewhere. It’s not to say that this is their best work or the work that pushed them into the spotlight but not many people come out on top the very first time anyway. For the most part, including myself, this movie caught my interest because within its cast was a very young Angelina Jolie and Johnny Whitworth. I didn’t care much of what the story was about; that is until I finally reached the rolling of the end credits. Quite honestly, I don’t understand why people can’t find the value in this movie. It is certainly not rock solid entertainment, but it hits harder than most low budget dramas.

    The story may not be about the most common of situations but it is relateable to an extent. A group of friends made a bad decision by trying to pull a robbery and end up causing friendly fire and another friend goes missing. This leaves with one of the friends, Johnny Miles (Mekhi Phifer) being jailed, and the other two, Gloria (Angelina Jolie) and Patty (Johnny Whitworth) to deal with family issues. But it’s when five years later that come around, that old wounds will open but will also be cleansed for the final time.

    The majority of performances are well done. Whitworth, Phifer, Jolie and even Rosanna Arquette, who plays Jolie’s mother, all give real-human performances for the kind of drama these characters have to go through. The only character I didn’t find that human was Lou Reilly (William Forsythe). He held the same facial expression through the entire film. Not one smile. And what’s with his hair? But I digress. I also liked how Tony Cinciripini wrote how each subplot would tie the loose ends by the end of the film. It was nice to see the end result of the film because it combined everything into one. That’s not to say every subplot was well written though.

    When it came to family/friend issues, yes I felt there was a real story being told. But when it came to Miles wanting to box, there wasn’t much explained about why he wanted to do boxing and how he met Lou Reilly. Plus, when Miles asked Reilly to be his agent, Reilly refused but by the next scene, he was being trained to box. I don’t get it, where’s the transition? Why did he change his mind? What made him change his mind? Why, why, why? There was also no recompense for the actions of various characters. There would be scenes of criminal acts or threats and yet no one would get in trouble for it. I find that hard to believe.

    As for music, the composer Joseph Arthur did not provide a theatrical film score, which is understandable for the budget that was provided. But I was actually not so displeased with the turnout. Throughout the film, acoustic songs will be played. There is also a song that is played every now and then, so that could be considered a theme. What I liked about it is that it gave a human characteristic to the story. This made it feel a little more down to earth, so perhaps an orchestral score would have made seem less realistic. Either way, it’s a fairly decent film.

    The performances carry the right emotion and the music assists in making the drama feel that much more real. Unfortunately, the writing has its weak points and doesn’t allow for any explanation.

    Points Earned –> 7:10

Write your review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *