‘The Kitchen’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: Does Izi Decide To Keep Benji With Him?


The Kitchen is a new science fiction drama film on Netflix that focuses much more on the drama element than the science fiction part, which unfortunately does not bring out the intended effect. In the dystopian futuristic city of London, a man named Izi struggles hard to climb up the social ladder of life when a sudden discovery makes him question his choices one more time. The science fiction element mostly stays restricted to the flat information provided, and while there is a commentary on social class, The Kitchen is only a mediocre watch that could have been more fleshed out.

Spoiler Alert

Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?

The Kitchen begins with the protagonist, Izi, walking into a common washroom to take a bath, which goes on for a considerably long time. This is particularly problematic because Izi lives in The Kitchen, which is one of the last remaining community social housing units in London. The dystopian future that the film brings to life has seen class differences grow to tremendous measures, and together with economic disparity, it has led to very segregated areas in the city. The London of the rich and privileged still exists, where people in fashionable clothes go around shopping in luxurious stores, but the characters central to the film are not welcome in such spaces. Instead, they are limited to the fringes and some corners of the city, where the socially and financially weak live in ghetto-like communities.

As an even harsher step for these people, the authorities have banned the concept of social housing, for every building and construction is considered private property. Therefore, any settlers who stay together in groups at these buildings are considered illegal intruders, and they are often harassed and beaten up by police, resulting in arrests. Because of such drastic measures by the police, the number of social housing buildings has greatly reduced, marking a dearth of space for the poor in the city. Amidst such a scenario, Izi lives in one of the last remaining social housings, known as The Kitchen, but the protagonist does not necessarily follow the community spirit.

This is evident from the very opening scene, as Izi spends his own sweet time in the bathroom, taking away from both the time and water capacity that have been allotted for the entire building. The long line of people who loudly protest against the man’s habit, with some even banging on the door of the bathroom, does not deter the protagonist. This world also now has interactive mirrors, which act like screens and bring up messages and notifications about upcoming events. As Izi goes through the messages he has received, The Kitchen moves forward with its plot.

How do Izi and Benji meet?

While Izi is the protagonist of this drama film, a second character named Benji plays an equally important role in it. The two characters meet at Izi’s workplace, which is a big showroom for a corporation named Life After Life. The company is basically a burial service of the future, which promises to turn a subject’s body into manure after their death, with a tree planted and cared for for many years after the death. The service seems to be quite popular among citizens, mainly because of the idea that one’s beloved family members get to live for many years after their death, in the form of a tree. Living relatives and friends can also come and visit the tree in memory of the ones they have lost. Although Life After Life claims that all trees are kept for a very long time, there is perhaps a suggestion in the film that the company only keeps and displays the trees until the dead subjects are visited or relevant, other than when they are discarded. The method is also a novel idea for getting rid of dead bodies without any necessary space for a burial and is therefore more sustainable, too.

The protagonist, Izi, has been working hard at this showroom, using all his skills to convince people to buy the burial service from Life After Life. Izi surely makes use of any personal characteristic or attribute possible in order to convince new buyers, and he is rather successful as well. On this particular day, the man suddenly spots the funeral service of a woman named Toni Clarke going on and is visibly startled by it. Izi goes down to the lower depths of the office and witnesses the funeral, which is only attended by the woman’s teenage son, Benji. The boy is also more shocked at the loss of his mother than he is grievous at the moment, and he is unable to say anything in memory of his mother.

Once the funeral is over and Toni’s body has been converted into a small plant, Izi watches Benji from a distance, never going in front of the boy. But Benji had already spotted the man and had realized that his mother must have meant something to him, because of which Izi had been witnessing the whole affair. As Izi steps out of the office at the end of his shift, Benji approaches him and directly asks how he had known Toni. Benji’s situation in life is also made clear, for the boy does not know who his father is, and he had hoped that the man might show up during the woman’s funeral. Since Izi had been there, the boy suspected that he might be his father, even though Izi immediately rejected the idea, stating that he had only been a friend of Toni a long time ago.

Although Benji does not get the blood relative he was looking for in Izi, the man does agree to give him a ride on his motorcycle, and the boy learns that Izi is a resident of the Kitchen. The end of the day is tremendously boring and sad for Benji, since he is all alone in his apartment and in the world after the death of his mother. It is all the more saddening because it is Benji’s birthday at midnight as well, and the boy unwraps the last gift that his mother had left him—a bicycle. With this bicycle, Benji goes over to the Kitchen the next morning, looking for Izi, or any friend at the place, for that matter.

Does Izi decide to keep Benji with him?

As Izi and Benji meet each other a couple more times, it becomes very evident that Benji wants to stay at the Kitchen with the man. The boy even manages to convince Izi to let him stay in his allotted flat in the community housing building for two days. During this time, he also witnesses the scary and uncertain part of life at the Kitchen, for the place is often raided by the police, who come to beat up and arrest the people living there illegally. The news of the police coming into the buildings is spread by people frantically beating on utensils and making a warning noise, and total chaos follows this during every raid. The police team beats up anybody they can, and all the residents have to hurry and clamber into their flats, locking the door behind, before the police can get hold of them.

Although Benji wants to stay with Izi, the protagonist does not prefer this arrangement at all, for he is very characteristically someone who prefers being alone. Izi is always concerned only with his own demands and needs, as has been established from the opening sequence in The Kitchen. Therefore, the man has also been on his plan of climbing up the social ladder and leaving the Kitchen, for he does not really believe in the community culture of it. The Kitchen is only a physical space that has supported Izi during his difficult times, but he has no wish to stay at the place for long. As he has managed to save up some money as advance rent on a luxurious single-occupancy apartment, Izi plans on moving into the place very soon. When Benji appears and wants to stay in his life, Izi is rather disturbed by the proposition, and he technically abandons the boy in Kitchen to move into his new single-occupancy apartment.

Izi had once considered taking the boy along and had tried to look for a double-occupancy apartment, but because of the long waiting list for such housing spaces, he had to give up on the apartment that was already being offered to him. Izi refuses to give it up and instead moves into this mechanical and lifeless apartment, which has fake scenery in place of windows, and decides to forget about the boy. However, on this very day, a massive police raid takes place at the Kitchen, which even leads to the death of Lord Kitchener, the man who would provide motivation to the entire community through the radio broadcast. When Izi sees the funeral of Lord Kitchener taking place at Life After Life, he is shocked to learn what has happened and reconsiders his decision to abandon Benji.

Who is Staples?

Along with benevolent residents, the Kitchen also has a few rough groups who get involved in illegal and shady activities to ensure that the community gets its food and resources. Staples is a young man who leads such a group, and together with his team, he regularly loots food and supply trucks from the city, bringing them back to the Kitchen. As Staples sees Benji riding his bike quite skillfully, the man befriends the boy and gets quite close to him over time. When Izi leaves the scene, Benji also finds company in Staples and his gang and gets involved in a dangerous situation.

After the death of Lord Kitchener, Staples and his gang call for retaliation on the civil society that hates them so much, and a revenge plan is made. The group rides out to the shopping complexes and private apartments in the city and wreaks havoc there, looting, plundering, and inflicting violence on everyone. Benji is also made a part of this rioting, but the boy gets tremendously scared when all this is taking place. As a result, Benji runs away from the gang and the place, making his way back to The Kitchen.

Is Izi the father of Benji?

During The Kitchen‘s ending, Izi returns to the community and reunites with Benji, apologizing for having left him behind. As a compensation for his selfish act, Izi also brings the plant with Toni’s remains from his workplace, giving it to Benji so that the boy can plant it at a spot of his choice. The Kitchen also gets raided by the police soon, and the two somehow manage to protect themselves from getting caught or beaten up. Staples and his team also manage to trap the police and lash out at them as an act of retaliation.

As Izi and Benji look out from the safe space of their Kitchen flat, the boy once again asks the man whether he is his father. Izi responds that he would be if Benji would like him to be, suggesting that the man decides to be the boy’s parent irrespective of any biological bond between them. But going by the suggestions in the film, it is very probable that Izi is indeed Benji’s biological father. Before her death, Toni had told her son that his father was someone who worked at Life After Life and also lived at the Kitchen, and the reaction of Izi to the woman’s death and then to Benji definitely suggests that he is indeed the father. But he does not reveal this to the boy, probably out of guilt and shame, because Izi had abandoned his lover and the son earlier.

Who knocks at the door in the end? 

The Kitchen ends with a scene in which someone knocks on the door of Izi’s flat at the Kitchen, and he tells Benji not to open the door or worry about it. This perhaps suggests a sad ending to the film, for the possibilities seem to be on the negative side. It might be that more police forces arrive in search of the rioters, and since Benji was among them, he will also be arrested. It can also be that the gang members of Staples have come to confront Izi, who has always tried to work against the community values of the Kitchen, always planning for his own advantages and benefits, and had eventually left as well. If we are to really think of a hopeful and more positive ending, then the knock can also be considered a message by the rest of the community to let Izi know that the police raid is now over and that they can come out. Either way, Izi is not willing to put Benji’s safety on the line in front of either of the possibilities, and thus he tells the boy not to respond to the knocks.

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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