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Movie Review: Soul Kitchen

Alternate Title: He's Not Heavy...

Story: Once in a while a film comes along that should have turned out as a groaner but under the always brilliant direction of Fatih Akin it turned out to be a winner. I left the theater with a big smile on my face (and that is rare).

The film takes place in Hamburg, Germany. A rag tag bunch of thirty-something's fill the screen with quirkiness, likeability and fun. Disorganized restaurateur Zinos, has turned a ramshackle warehouse into a sort of German greasy diner that caters to truckers and locals. He calls his place 'Soul Kitchen.' Through a series of unrelated incidents the diner turns into the next trendy restaurant and cash starts to flow.

Like a good recipe this film throws in a dash of ingredients that include a shady brother, a wacky chef, a villainous realtor, a devoted artist/waitress, a curmudgeon, a long distance relationship, an alternative healer and more. Yes, there are lots of characters but they are all given exactly the right amount of screen time to make the recipe complete.

To add to this already fun film there is a terrific soundtrack and some wonderful cooking scenes.

How Zinos goes from rags to riches and back again is madcap, fun and delightful. The film was written by Fatih.Akin and Adam Bousdoukos. It is in German and Greek, with English subtitles.

Check out the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ua86x-J4ubA

Acting: Adam Bousdoukos as Zinos Kazantsakis is perfect. He is also the co-writer. Moritz Bleibtreu as wayward brother Illias Kazantsakis is wonderful. The supporting cast are terrific including: Birol Ünel (Shayn Weiss), Anna Bederke (Lucia Faust), Pheline Roggan (Nadine Krüger), Lucas Gregorowicz (Lutz) and Wotan Wilke Möhring (Thomas Neumann).

Trivia: Edge of Heaven http://judylobo.wordpress.com/2008/06/26/movie-review-edge-of-heaven/ was my favorite film of 2008 and was directed by Fatih Akin. Check out the review above.

Predilection: I like Fatih Akin's films.

Critters: None

Food: A gastronomic delight.

Sex Spectrum: A few very funny sex scenes. An aphrodisiac is added to one of the desserts.

Blatant Product Placement: Apple, Skype

Soundtrack: Soulfully terrific.

Opening Titles: All titles at the end. Some nice graphics are used in the end titles.

Theater Audience: About ten other happy film goers.

Weather: It seems to rain a lot in Hamburg.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I was attentive throughout

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: It could be an entry in the foreign film division.

Big Screen or Rental: If you can find it on the big screen go for it - otherwise it would be a fine rental.

Length: 100 minutes.