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Elmina's Kitchen (2005)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama  -  13 June 2005 (UK)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 14 users  
Reviews: 1 user

A tense story of gun crime, racism and a difficult father-son relationship.

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Title: Elmina's Kitchen (TV Movie 2005)

Elmina's Kitchen (TV Movie 2005) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Deli
...
Digger
Emmanuel Idowu ...
Ashley
Oscar James ...
Baygee
Doña Croll ...
Anastasia
...
Clifton
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Storyline

In London, UK, Deli is keeping his late mother's restaurant and takeaway running, even though he is looking for a cook because he is a terrible one. His son Ashley helps with the deliveries and his regular customer, Digger, is a Yardy who means Deli doesn't have to pay anyone protection money. However Digger also puts off the customers, according to the new cook Anastasia. As Deli tries to lift his business up in the eyes of the community he misses that Ashley is heading the other way - looking up to Digger and looking to get involved in that lifestyle. Written by bob the moo

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Drama

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13 June 2005 (UK)  »

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Filmed in just five days, based on a stage play of the same name with the same director and cast, but shot on location in London, with the performances scaled-down to suit the greater intimacy of the TV camera. See more »

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Good try but the "all or nothing" writing and lack of subtlety is a failing
28 June 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In London, UK, Deli is keeping his late mother's restaurant and takeaway running, even though he is looking for a cook because he is a terrible one. His son Ashley helps with the deliveries and his regular customer, Digger, is a Yardy who means Deli doesn't have to pay anyone protection money. However Digger also puts off the customers, according to the new cook Anastasia. As Deli tries to lift his business up in the eyes of the community he misses that Ashley is heading the other way – looking up to Digger and looking to get involved in that lifestyle.

I had enough money to go to see this play or Pinter's Birthday Party a few months ago and I chose the latter. I'm glad I did – not only because the one I saw was a great play but also because, a few months later, a filmed version was screened by BBC4. Essentially the film is an all-black look at the problems within that community, centred around the restaurant of the title. The play is all about loud actions and loud characters – this is accurate and time with my black ex in-laws in London prove that raised voices is just a normal way of behaving. The downside of this is that the film has very little subtlety in the development, the characters or the story; everything is full throttle and there are no half measures. Although the story keeps going, everything that can happen happens – sex, death, betrayal, swearing, secret money; there are far too many things going on to really make the story totally convincing. If it had kept the themes but scaled back on how much happens then it would have been better but, as it is, it never starts short where it can go the whole hog.

The acting is pretty good but they do struggle a bit with the "all or nothing" writing. The accents sound pretty realistic but regularly they drop into their normal English accents, although I'm not sure if this was the point of the film – many British born Jamaicans will "do" a voice that they don't really have. Joseph is easily the best thing in the film because he at least is subtle in his performance, using looks and gestures a lot – although when the script needs him to shout, then that is what he does. For this same reason, Parkes is poor – he can do little with what he has and comes over like a Yardy cliché. Idowu is a bit better and at least makes for a convincing black youth in performance if not totally in his material. Support from Harris and Croll is as good as you would expect from them – they have done their time.

Overall this is an OK film but probably works better as a play since the raw emotion of the extreme situations works better when it is really happening feet from your nose. On screen it loses this impact and seems like it just went to extremes and lost touch with reality – if something could go bad, it does, and all at the same time and everything else. It was a good film but this problem made it more of a fantasy and lost it the creditability and importance that I had been told it had.


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