Combustible Celluloid
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With: Adam Bousdoukos, Moritz Bleibtreu, Birol Ünel, Anna Bederke, Pheline Roggan, Lukas Gregorowicz, Dorka Gryllus, Wotan Wilke Möhring, Demir Gökgöl, Monica Bleibtreu, Marc Hosemann, Cem Akin
Written by: Fatih Akin, Adam Bousdoukos
Directed by: Fatih Akin
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Language: German, with English subtitles
Running Time: 99
Date: 09/10/2009

Soul Kitchen (2010)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Baby Back Ribs

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

German-Turkish director Fatih Akin sets aside his tense cross-cultural dramas for a moment to make this high-energy comedy of errors, which is sort of a wintertime equivalent to his delightful summertime rom-com In July (2000).

Zinos Kazantsakis (Adam Bousdoukos) runs a sleazy, greasy little restaurant in a run-down part of town that the locals seem to love. He can't pay his taxes, his sexy girlfriend Nadine (Pheline Roggan) is about to move to Shanghai and wants Zinos to come with her. And his brother Illias (Moritz Bleibtreu) has just been given daytime work passes from prison and needs a job (but would rather not actually have to work). In the middle of all this, Zinos impulsively hires an out-of-work master chef and throws out his back.

Each time we turn around Akin (and co-screenwriter Bousdoukos) throws in something crazy, such as building inspectors, aphrodisiacs, midnight raids, unexpected romances, reckless gambling, and increasing back pain. Akin keeps the atmosphere loose and realistic and despite the usual third-act scramble to wrap up all the plot threads, the mood and the humor are well balanced throughout.

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