April 14, 2024

BOILING POINT (2021) – Hell’s Kitchen in one long take!

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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

Philip Barantini produce, writes and directs what is probably his best work to date and a labour of love. Boiling Point is an up close look at the pressures of a restaurant kitchen head chef on busy Christmas season evening. The whole story is told amazingly in one continuous shot over a period of one and a half hours. The most recent other movie which attempted telling a compelling story in one long shot like this was Sam Mendes’ British war movie 1917. Boiling Point is far less ambitious and complex in that it confines itself to just within the restaurant itself, and occasionally along the streets just outside the building. Nevertheless, despite this simplistic surrounding and theme, Boiling Point is no less involving and captivating.

British actor Stephen Graham whom we had just seen recently in Venom: Let There Be Carnage as a side character, Detective Mulligan, takes on a much bigger responsibility this time. As the film’s main character, chief chef Andy Jones, he skillfully portrays a character that is complex and multi-layered. Through cleverly written conversations and situations, we begin to see Andy’s strengths and weaknesses emerge. We also get a glimpse of his troubled family life and early career paths, as well as his relationships with his co-workers. The camera flows fluidly from one corner of the restaurant and kitchen to the other, as it introduces all sorts of elements that contributes to the hectic and busy night. Along the way, we get to see familiar behaviours (or misbehaviours) of both restaurant staff and customers in a typical evening dining out. Do not however expect to witness any culinary delights and tips on how to cook any fine dining dishes here though, as the actual food served takes a secondary back seat to all the action. Boiling Point is more human drama than cookery.

The entire show is filmed almost documentary like with dialogue that sounds like snippets of real life conversations that people have, rather than lines from a rehearsed script. This makes all the characters come across as very believable. It is almost hard to believe the amount of drama and things that happened over the short one and a half hours! I always find long take movies very involving and this is no exception. Watching this feels like I actually spent this unfortunate evening with the characters in the restaurant! This is a feat that is not easy to achieve and I for one, fully appreciated and enjoyed the effort.

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