REVIEW: ‘Boiling Point’ is Intoxicating Stress

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Boiling Point - But Why Tho

Boiling Point is set in Jones & Sons, a restaurant on the busiest days of the year. The head chef and his team have to come together to finish the service. But that won’t be easy as staff shortages, health inspectors and insufferable customers threaten to break everyone in the restaurant. Boiling Point is a British Drama film directed by Philip Barantini with a screenplay is written by Philip Barantini and James Cummings. The movie stars Stephen Graham, Vinette Robinson, Alice Feetham, and Jason Flemyng in key roles.

The plot and the script of Boiling Point hinge on one powerful emotion: stress. From the opening minutes, the characters are on edge and struggling. There is a slow but nail-biting build-up that carries throughout much of the movie. As the service plays out there is a selection of events that serve as potential fuses that are about to be lit. Many of the story arcs, particularly those that involve our main character Andy Jones and the inner workings of the restaurant. The key thing to note is that not all of those elements will result in something disastrous happening, but any of them can. 

As the resolve of the chefs and the other staff collapses the tension rises. The pressure builds in the pit of the stomach as the potential for disaster increases. The ending hits too quickly, however, shorting out instead of coming to a close. Given production difficulties, it is difficult to know if this was a necessary approach. The emotion of this finale is effective.

Something that is important to note is that nothing that occurs inside this single service is believable. Nothing seems beyond the realms of possibility, especially for viewers that have worked within restaurants in the service industry themselves. The lack of communication between staff, mismanagement, and burning out are all key features of this story.

The characters and the performances are simply sensational. Graham is simply sensational as an actor. Very soft in how he speaks and never overacting, there is an enormous amount of emotion and layers in how he plays Andy. There’s a nervousness to him, always bowing down to those above him. Both writers brilliantly avoid simply making a pastiche of Gordon Ramsay, instead of developing a head chef that is simply struggling under pressure. 

As his partner in the kitchen, Robinson is a real powerhouse. She is the true leader in the kitchen, taking the reins whilst Andy walks around the restaurant. She is strong, having to baby and take control over every other worker in the kitchen. Feetham is that figure that every kitchen staff member despises, but like all the characters the audience is made to feel sorry for her. Flemyng does a brilliant impression of a celebrity chef whilst just keeping it away from being labeled as a parody.

Many characters have a small moment that provides them with a lot of depth, even if it’s just a little line. Comments about why they are late or heartbreaking revelations or even long asides that end up being very important to the plot.  When we follow them small affectations reveal more than a whole conversation. Every person is a perfect example of a human, not a character. 

The dialogue is fantastic. A huge factor in building the tension, the conversations are very natural and real. Characters talk over each other in arguments, fighting for their voice. Some are louder than others and when the volume goes up so does the heart rate. 

The element of Boiling Point that will truly draw eyes to it is how it was filmed. This film is a one-shot, following the whole service without cutting once. The camera movement is fluid, following characters as they walk around the restaurant. This is where some of the great, personal moments come from as the camera goes with a figure as they seek a brief moment of alone time. The camera takes its time too. When a character reveals a troubling secret, we linger with them as the full range of reactions unfolds. The one-shot factor gives the movie a stageplay quality and demonstrates the sheer talent that the actors contain. And due to filming just as a pandemic hit, their production had to be done quickly. Thus, the shoot took only two days and four takes. The small setting is perfect at heightening the feeling of claustrophobia. 

Boiling Point is intoxicating stress. This one-shot features both hugely impressive direction and a wonderfully dramatic script. The cast consists of underrated or unknown TV and theatre performers, led by one of the best in the business. This isn’t a film that is sold purely by just one actor, as every single person brings a performance that adds to the almost unbearable pressure. Those that have worked in that environment will find it rewarding to have their experiences so realistically portrayed. But they will also find it painful. The dysfunctional family that is built on combined trauma and self-destruction, all within a cramped space, is recreated to a picture-perfect extent.

Boiling Point is in theatres now and available to rent on VoD.

 


Boiling Point
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Boiling Point is intoxicating stress. This one-shot features both hugely impressive direction and a wonderfully dramatic script. The cast consists of underrated or unknown TV and theatre performers, led by one of the best in the business.