By Adam Ray Palmer
The fourth film on our 2021 London Film Festival journey is the thrilling one-take kitchen drama, Boiling Point.
Written and directed by Actor-turned-director Philip Barantini; Boiling Points stars Stephen Graham, Vinette Robinson, Hannah Walters and Jason Flemyng.
Boiling Point follows Andy (played by the irreplaceable Stephen Graham), an emotionally beaten up and broken chef who’s addicted to drugs and wrapped up in the manic moments of life. Boiling Point runs off the hectic energy across one crazily busy night in Andy’s top London restaurant.
Andy must deal with problematic staff (personally and professionally), challenging customers and an old rival (Flemyng). On top of all this, he has to deal with backdrop of a frantic workplace and the pressures of keeping the busy restaurant floor afloat.
Boiling Point is an intelligent, single-take character study that is effortlessly kinetic and crazily chaotic in equal measure. The man at the helm, Philip Barantini, has certainly used his own acting experience in TV and film to get the most out of the performers on screen. At times, the film feels more like a documentary as we follow the key protagonists going about their evening in a pressurised and claustrophobic working environment.
At the centre of this “Hell’s Kitchen” esque-world is the talented, Stephen Graham. Whenever he pops up in a movie, you know you’re in for a performance that is more than capable of holding an audience on its own. Boiling Point really benefits from Graham here as at times the storytelling slopes in spice - Stephen is always on board to ensure the narrative ticks along. It’s a commanding central performance that delivers genuinely stressful excitement.
The raw urgency around the film really makes for stressful viewing. The momentum that the one-take filmmaking technique gives feels so authentic, like you’re in the cut-throat, high-tier restaurant itself. Throughout the runtime, there’s very little time to breathe between dialogue, and that by no means is a coincidence – it really helps the viewer grasp the tension.
On the whole, Boiling Point is the perfect character-driven movie, everything geared around the cast. The film does therefore have pitfalls in the plot, dropping out at times when the more nuanced scenes arrive. It does make you think though about the next time you’re in a hectic restaurant, just what is happening behind the line. For a second feature and certainly for the way it was shot; Barantini delivers a decent main course.
Cineroom’s rating: 3.5 stars
Boiling Point premiered at the London Film Festival on 11th October – certificate 12A