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Hot Docs Review: The Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution

An important documentary that feels like it would be better presented as a smaller portion.

Documentary filmmaker Maya Gallus explores the current shift in a toxic restaurant culture in her latest film The Heat: A Kitchen Revolution. Our story is told by a group of head chefs that are leading the charge, all of which are female. Individually their stories display the drive and dedication it takes to crack the glass ceiling, but together they paint a picture of an industry that demands reform. These women not only embody the change they hope to bring to the industry, but they do this while revolutionizing what can be done with food on a daily basis.

While their stories are ones that need to be heard, The Heat seems to lose its footing in storytelling halfway in. From there the film doesn’t reel you back in. It seems to meander around the same subject matter, moving the conversation very little. It’s felt more as the film does little to push the bounds of what a documentary film can be. The food photography falls flat, never inspiring the awe that these dishes should. The cinematography on a whole shows moments of brilliance, but they’re too little, too late. And the editing, while delivering some great sequences of storytelling, can’t seem to bring it all together.

These are stories that deserved to be told, but in a feature length documentary feature – one has to wonder. A cut thirty minutes tighter would have been a more impactful treatment for a story with such incredibly strong voices.

Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton is a Toronto based filmmaker and creative mad man. Legend has it that he spent most of his childhood locked away in a cell beta testing Netflix.