Movie Mondays- Boiling Point

This week for Movie Mondays I thought I’d talk about a movie from last year that I missed when making the best of 2021 list. Despite having its official release date last year, Boiling Point was widely released to the UK public back in March via Netflix. The entire hour and a half runtime amazingly consists of just one shot that follows one night at a restaurant. It’s a simple enough premise but by the time the end credits were rolling I was blown away by how much depth the plot had.

We start off by meeting the main character who is the head chef at his own restaurant, Andy. Instantly Stephen Graham’s amazing performance captivates you as his whirlwind of an evening begins. It’s as if you are actually taking a peek into his life and all of the issues bubbling beneath the surface of the restaurant. The believability of the film is one of its biggest strengths and it often feels as though you shouldn’t be watching, like a domestic argument spilling out onto the street.

Andy has so many problems all reaching their crescendo at once, with family and money issues going head-to-head whilst underlying addiction fuels this evening from hell. Each of his problems alone could push someone to their limit but as the film goes on we see the head chef try to juggle them, putting each problem off only long enough to deal with the next. It’s a never-ending cycle that we as viewer can see isn’t sustainable and its clear from early on that everything will soon come crashing down. Andy is in denial of this and tries to push through, to keep everyone happy and he seems to honestly believes that if he just has a bit more time then everything will work out. Stephen Graham’s desperation is palpable, he really nails this type of character and has proven this countless times on the small screen. This is a painfully realistic depiction of a normal man who is overcommitted, overworked and at risk of losing it all.

All this time I haven’t even mentioned the rest of the cast, who depict the typical dysfunctional workings of a hospitality team. From the standoffish chefs to the student bartenders and unreliable dishwashers, every character feels lived-in and detailed. We regularly glimpse at their individual problems but are quickly whisked away by the breakneck speed of the camera. Everyone in the film, even some of the most irritating customers, feel like real people and I wouldn’t be surprised if the director had previously worked in this sort of chaotic environment. This is certainly director Philip Barantini’s breakout film and he is already showing that he can transition from actor to director/producer seamlessly.

I can’t recommend this movie enough and it’s already one of my favourites that I’ve seen this year, although I will say that is not a pleasant watch due to its nerve-wrecking nature. By the end of the movie I felt like I needed a rest, it’s one of the most stressful things that I can remember watching, which is a huge achievement based on how little the filming must’ve cost. Boiling Point is an expert example of great filmmaking being able to weave together complex lives into one plot. The way the camera ducks and weaves through the restaurant and back into the innerworkings of the kitchen makes you feel as though you are really there, which is one of the main ways that it creates this sense of anxiety. By placing you in the midst of the stressful kitchen, Barantini can show complex moments of emotion between staff members and the highs and lows of each character in detail. It is as though you are a new start, dropped in at the deep end of a busy shift and expected to work through the stress and deal with countless problems piling up like a stack of plates teetering by the sink, always threatening to collapse.

Words by Ewan Blacklaw

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: