Soul Kitchen is just pure, unadulterated, full-fat fun. Despite being a little rushed and disjointed at times, it is packed full of wacky, feel good humor, and is a joy to watch. Zinos (Adam Bousdoukos) is the owner of a run-down restaurant in the middle of an industrial estate in Hamburg. The place is popular with the locals, but fails to attract much outside attention. Some drastic changes to the menu threaten to shake up the lives of everyone who works there.
With the help of his brother, his waitress, and a chef, Zino manages to make the most out of bad situations (and there are a lot of them). It is his trials and tribulations which provide the highs and lows for the film, and yet the film’s predictability does not detract from its entertainment value. This is mainly due to the lively performances from the cast, who all look as though they’re having a brilliant time. When they’re happy, you really believe it, and can’t help but squeal in excitement with them (I really hope that’s not just me).
The music is spot on, with a soundtrack that includes Louis Armstrong, Kool & The Gang and Curtis Mayfield. My only criticism of the film is that there maybe could have been a little more focus on the food itself. Considering that the story revolves around one man’s love for a restaurant, there weren’t many scenes that went into detail about dishes or ingredients (except for the aphrodisiac scene, which was more there for laughs). There were some montages of chopping and mixing to be fair, and maybe I’m being a little picky, but it’s something that I felt was missing by the end.
Overall, this is definitely a light hearted but sincere tale of faith and determination in the face of misfortune. The film’s message: things will turn out all right in the end if you just keep going. Is that always true? Maybe not, but who cares.
FINAL VERDICT: ★★★1/2