A chef dealing with problems in his personal life arrives at work as the health inspector is starting his tour of the restaurant. As they are given a lower-than-expected grade and have an overly full evening ahead of them, he tries to keep the restaurant running smoothly and deal with what is waiting for him at home.
Written by Philip Barantini and James Cummings and directed by Barantini, Boiling Point follows the short film of the same name by the same team that took place over a Christmas rush meal at a restaurant. This time, just like with the short, the feature is a single take experiment in filmmaking taking a solid look at the life of those working in the restaurant business. The story is one that feels natural to the situation in that it’s showing the lives of those in the restaurant while they are there with snippets/references of what they do outside of the restaurant. A few side storylines with patrons shake things up here and there and help give the lead cast some time off camera while the single take visits other people. The film shows that the team behind it knew what they were doing and shows there was most likely a ton of rehearsal. While other films have done the one-shot or the look of one-shot sequence for the while runtime, this one shows better how to do so without moving here and there to complete darkness (where a cut could easily be hidden). There are very few moments here where a cut could have been possible and it helps make this exercise in filmmaking work better.
The cast here is excellent on all fronts, quite literally stellar from leads to people with just a couple of lines. The selection was clearly quite careful and the rehearsal process must have been on point. Playing the lead Stephen Graham as Andy Jones, a man with more problems than he needs and so much stress, he may very well explode. His work in this part is so perfect for it, it makes the whole film. The choice of Graham for that lead is something that leads it the film being what it is. Playing the other chef (possibly sous-chef) Carly is Vinette Robinson who brings more emotions to her part and a bit less stress, giving her character a personal touch that works great next to Graham. Also fantastic are Alice Feetham, Hannah Walters, and Jason Flemyng. The cast here is filled with talent and clear understanding of the parts and work at hand, helping make this film the fantastic film it is.
The cinematography by Matthew Lewis (who was also camera operator) is what really allows the film to be done in one single shot, without any cuts. The work here is precise and the framing makes the film look like it was supremely well thought out while still looking like natural movement of someone following the going-ons in a restaurant. The work Lewis does here shows this and also that there is a clear understand of how to show the viewer what they need to see and move onto the next thing to help the story flow. This is great work behind the camera and should be seen.
Boiling Point is an exercise in filmmaking, but it’s also one that works on all fronts, something many others should take a look at to see how it’s done. The film takes the pressure cooker that is a well-rated, popular kitchen and adds personal stresses for everyone and a few extra things on top from the patrons to build a film that feels stressful and comes off as such on the screen. Watching it, one can feel the situation as it comes on and evolves. The film is a great one with a ton of talent behind and in front of the camera.