Currently available to stream on video-on-demand platforms, and playing in select cinemas, is the British drama-thriller, Boiling Point. The movie – directed by Philip Barantini – stars Stephen Graham, Vinette Robinson, Jason Flemyng, and Malachi Kirby, and follows the story of a restaurant chef on the busiest night of the year.
In the movie, Andy Jones is a respected chef, working in a prestigious restaurant. It’s ‘Mad Friday’ — the last and most frantic Friday before Christmas – and with the restaurant fully booked, and the health inspector due in first thing, Andy is set to have an incredibly stressful day.
And the stress levels increase further when a celebrity chef books a table in the restaurant without Andy’s knowledge. He brings a leading food critic along as his guest, adding further pressure to the evening.
With these two guests potentially putting every dish under the microscope, Andy knows everything must be perfect; but unfortunately, when perfection is required, everything can and will go wrong. What follows is an unforgettable evening, whereby Andy and his team are pushed to breaking point.
Filmed in one continuous shot, Boiling Point is a tense, claustrophobic, and truly superb piece of filmmaking. It is a movie rich in story, filled to the brim with effective and incredibly believable performances, and topped off with smart direction.
Boiling Point is a movie which works because it is confident in it wants to achieve and knows exactly how to pull it off. This is a movie which hasn’t just been flung together, it has been carefully considered, meticulously rehearsed, and polished within an inch of its life.
And yet, when I say ‘polished’ I refer to the way in which the narrative has been shaped and structured to get it just right – I am not referring to the film’s aesthetic. There is a gritty realism to every ounce of this picture, so that it looks raw and exposed, with characters who are far from perfect, and in no way squeaky-clean.
This is British filmmaking at its best. It is hard-hitting, brutal, and incredibly powerful.
At the centre of the film is Andy, as played by Stephen Graham. He becomes the focus of the feature, and the many problems he encounters throughout the course of his shift are what help to move the story along.
Graham is the beating heart of the movie, and the film benefits from having an actor of his calibre at the forefront of the story. Director Philip Barantini knows what he is doing with this movie, and knows how to deliver his storytelling techniques (which I’ll come onto shortly), but Graham adds so much to the film and this can’t be overlooked.
The actor manages to walk a careful line with his performance, to ensure he demonstrates there are multiple sides to his character. One minute he is a likeable cheeky chappie, the next a powerhouse of rage, and then a broken man, struggling to keep things together.
Graham brings all of these facets to the screen, and all at exactly the right time, and in exactly the right way. And it must be reiterated that as Boiling Point is filmed in one continuous shot, the actor has to switch between emotions at the drop of a hat to sell this performance.
I can’t see anyone coming away from this movie not feeling incredibly captivated by what he brings to the screen. Graham is a popular British actor, and one of our best, and his performance in this movie only goes to highlight this further.
But it’s not just Graham that sells the heck out of this movie, so too do the rest of the cast, who all put in superb turns in their respective roles. Whether this is the arsehole celebrity chef as played by Jason Flemyng, or the loyal but exhausted sous chef played by Vinette Robinson, everyone in this movie is perfectly cast.
And then there is the film’s direction, which is fantastic. I can only imagine that Barantini played out this movie infinite times in his head before even a single second of footage was captured, to ensure he knew where every actor, every technical assistant, and every piece of cutlery would be at all times.
If even one tiny detail was out of place, the whole thing could have come crashing down. He had to keep all of his plates spinning and all of his players in their positions at all times, and the fact this isn’t something you automatically consider as the movie plays out, is a testament to how he manages to pull it all off.
What helps is that he is working from a smart script which he co-wrote with James Cummings. Between the two of them, the pair manage to turn a night in a restaurant into an intense pressure cooker.
They do this by continually turning up the heat – not on the stove, but through various problems that crop up during the course of the evening. These problems range from a shortfall in ingredients, to staffing issues, and wanky customers.
Not all of the problems are major ones, but each is there to help increase the temperature. Every little moment adds to the already tense environment, and ultimately it is the little things which make a big difference.
And this is the key to the success of this film: taking little things and using them in just the right way to deliver the story. There are many moving parts in play, and collectively they are what make this picture shine.
Boiling Point is an excellent movie – it is clever, incredibly effective, and expertly handled. The film delivers on all fronts, and knows how to balance all of its components.
The end result is a picture that draws in its audience from the very start and keeps them locked in with a story that is fascinating to watch. It is the sort of film that is so engaging you never want it to end, even though you know it has to, if only to release some of the tension.
I adore this movie and would happily watch it again. I’m calling it now (and I appreciate it’s only January), but this will be one of the best films released this year.