Boiling Point (15)
Boiling Point (15)
Director: Philip Barantini
Runtime: 95 minutes
Cast: Stephen Graham, Vinette Robinson, Ray Panthaki, Alice Feetham, Jason Flemyng, Lauryn Ajufo, Gary Lamont
Synopsis: This is ‘Magic Friday’, the last Friday before Christmas and the busiest night of the year. Andy Jones, Head Chef at one of the top restaurants in London, is battling debts, addiction and an imploding personal life. The pressure is already on when health and safety services unexpectedly show up for inspection. The film is shot in a single take, in and out of a kitchen reaching boiling point.
With the pandemic creating a parlous state for the hospitality business, enter the relentless pressure of a restaurant kitchen as a head chef wrangles his team on the busiest day of the year in Director Philip Barantini’s riveting film.
This is perhaps the most revealing film about the stressful life of staff inside a restaurant, brilliantly captured in a single take. Stephen Graham is an absolute stand out in the role of Andy, the talented chef who faces – during the ninety minutes of the film and vividly on-screen – tough problems in the restaurant and in his personal life.
On the busiest night of the year at one of the hottest restaurants in London, charismatic, commanding head chef Andy Jones [Stephen Graham – This England (2006) and its television sequels This Is England ’86 (2010), This Is England ’88 (2011), This Is England ’90 (2015), Snatch (2000) Gangs of New York (2002), Public Enemies (2009), The Irishman (2019), Pirates of the Caribbean films On Stranger Tides (2011) and Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017), Line of Duty (2019), Boardwalk Empire (2010–2014), BBC drama Time (2021), Tony in Help (2021)] balances along a knife’s edge as multiple personal and professional crises threaten to destroy everything he’s worked for. A surprise visit from a health and safety inspector sets the staff on edge as the overbooked hotspot begins to fill with guests. Jones alternately berates and cajoles his diverse staff, trying his best to diffuse tensions between management and his crew, while catering to the ridiculous demands of customers.
Gripping from start to finish, Boiling Point uses its bold one take approach to support a thrilling tightrope of a tale – although it is not the first film to use this technique that requires intense training and formidable logistics. The film considered by many to be a masterpiece of the genre is Aleksandr Sokurov’s Russian Ark, while Victoria by the German director Sebastian Schipper is also effective.
Realistic dramas that happen in real time and in one place or in places connected by the movements of the characters, fit the formula perfectly. This is exactly the case with this film, which takes place in the kitchen and dining room of a high-end restaurant, with outstanding camerawork by Matthew Lewis and film editing by Alex Fountain.
Boiling Point’s ensemble is made up of mostly experienced actors, many with dozens of movies in their filmographies, who did not refuse to play supporting roles, some with short screen time, but all significant to advance the gripping narrative and tale of stressed head chef of a fashionable restaurant, who has personal and financial problems and who has been failing to maintain standards for the last two months. The health inspector downgrades their rating due to his bad paperwork. His mentor is arriving with a food critic. There are conflicts in and out of the kitchen.
This is a highly original cinematic work, which proves that a film set in a kitchen over one fateful night can be a white-knuckle ride. In adapting their short film of the same name for a feature length project, director Philip Barantini and his star Stephen Graham have crafted one of the year’s most sweat inducing and technically accomplished narratives that is sure to make you re-evaluate the life of busy kitchen/restaurant.
Images courtesy of: Vertigo Releasing