Short Film Review – Hells Kitchen (2021)

Title – Hells Kitchen (2021) 

Director – Steve Young (directional debut) 

Cast – Steve Young, Serge De Nardo, Christopher Farrell

Plot – It’s the late 70’s in New York City and gangster Johnny Santorelli (Young) finds himself hot on the trail of a rat in his crew who his determined to track down. 

“Everybody wants to get in on the action” 

Review by Eddie on 27/10/2021

As its brutal, funny and unsettling opening segment concludes and its title disappears off screen, Steve Young’s short film Hells Kitchens declares it’s 1978, “A great time to be a gangster” and while this tale of a group of confectionary loving mobsters is confined to three locations across its all too brief 16 minute running time, it’s a statement that rings true in this impressively staged and acted affair. 

The debut directional effort from Young, who not only takes on sole writing duties for Hells Kitchen but takes up its lead role as the wise talking Johnny Santorelli (with eagle eyed viewers likely to recall seeing the talented performer/filmmaker in the fun b-movie horror Blood Vessel from 2019), Hells Kitchen is a step above most other short films and it’s not hard too see why this Australian production has been making waves at some of the most highly regarded short film festivals across the world. 

Following a pattern that will be familiar to anyone who counts the likes of Goodfellas, The Irishman, Carlito’s Way or The Godfather as some of their personal favorites, Hells Kitchen never tries too mess with well worn formulas of old but with such a short time too play out in, the story of Santorelli and his fellow made men trying to uncover a rat in their ranks does exactly what it needs to do whilst becoming an impressively shot, scripted and staged outing in the process. 

From cold-hearted violence, church based dialogues, licorice munching’s and an abundance of one liners and jokes that ensure entertainment is never far away despite the subject matter, Hells Kitchen never finds itself in a lull and it leaves you wanting more of Young’s vision of New York City in 1978. 

Developed with its eyes on a potential feature film stemming from what transpires here, here’s hoping Young and his talented cast and crew (with special mention needing to go to the shorts director of photography Joshua Hoareau) can push forward with their end goal, as judging by the results here, a longer version of Hells Kitchen would be something for cinema fans to get very excited about indeed. 

Final Say – 

An Australian production that brilliantly captures the tumultuous 70’s period of New York City while playing within the gangster subgenre, Hells Kitchen is one of 2021’s most memorable short films and an impressive directional debut from Steve Young. 

4 bags of Red Vines out of 5   

Hells Kitchen doesn’t currently have a public release date. Keep up to date with all news HERE

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