Boiling Point Review – Stephen Graham is on fire on a nerve-racking night in Hell’s Kitchen | Drama films
Mmovies that appear to be shot in one continuous take usually raise two questions. First, is it Actually a one-shot production (and if not, can you see the joins)? Second, is the format actively advantage drama or is it just a gimmick? Alfred Hitchcock referred to his experimental stage-to-screen adaptation of 1948 Rope like a “blow”, and confessed to FranÃ§ois Truffaut: “I really do not know how I was able to deliver myself. Over six decades later, the 2015 Oscar winner for Best Picture Alejandro GonzÃ¡lez IÃ±Ã¡rritu has been grossly overrated. Bird man felt equally indulgent – technically dazzling but ultimately hollow.
Perhaps the biggest compliment I can give to the low budget UK photo of actor-turned-director Philip Barantini Boiling point (co-written with James Cummings) is to say that I often forgot that I was watching a brilliantly orchestrated one-shot. Not that the format is not efficient, far from it. It’s totally immersive, evoking the raw experience of an inexorably accelerating panic attack. Yet like the 2015 German thriller Victoria, which was similarly captured in an authentic single take, it is above all a gripping and gritty drama in which the spiraling descent of the narrative is enhanced and enriched by uninterrupted digital photography.
Stephen Graham, who was so brilliant in last year’s BBC miniseries Time, and who gets executive producer credit here, is on fire as Andy Jones, the already shaken chef whose world is on the verge of chaos. We first meet him running through the twilight streets of London – late for work and settled into a telephone argument that succinctly establishes the collapse of his family life. In the kitchen of the restaurant where her arrival is late, loyal team leader Carly (Bifa winner Vinette Robinson) and her exasperated colleague Freeman (Ray Panthaki) hold the fort, which has clearly become a growing situation. more common in recent times – another skillfully delivered detail.
Andy is overworked (the Friday before Christmas rush is upon us) and swears at other people’s stress, his level of anxiety being stoked by a visit from a paternalistic and picky environmental health worker. Meanwhile, in the restaurant a naughty gallery of customers is to be served. They range from a bunch of social media influencers who are spoiled rather than kicked out, to an angry racist patriarch who performatively throws his weight on Table Seven. As for future Table 13 fiancÃ©s, they reported a nut allergy that should be given priority by already overworked staff.
And then there’s Alistair Skye, a celebrity chef who Andy is uncomfortably in debt to, played with a brilliantly passive-aggressive smarm from Jason Flemyng. On the surface, Alistair is all smiles, assuring Andy that “we are here to support you“, And insisting that he didn’t need to worry about the dreaded food critic he arrived with (” You don’t need my approval, there are such a buzz in this place! “). But soon enough, Alistair took credit for Andy’s menu (“I recognize all these dishes â) and offering blissful serving suggestions (â Could I have a little ramekin dish with za’atar? â) while making increasingly threatening noises that reveal a deeper and more desperate purpose .
Bifa-winning cinematographer Matthew Lewis (who also shot the 2019 short from which this feature was born) leads us with superbly low-key skill through this thoroughly believable turbulent world. It’s a world in which everyone has a story, from the nervous young saucier hiding his forearms under unfolded sleeves, to the butler with the playful face who calls his father crying from the bathroom, and the arrogant chancellor engaging in secret affairs in the alleys near the trash cans. Subplots of late pay raises and outsized ambitions swirl amid the cacophony of standoffs and service bells (congratulations to the sound team), each thread expertly interwoven into an intricate mosaic of individual voices, all rising to a single cry.
The result is spicy nerd served with a toasty accompaniment of jet black humor – divine comedy heading into inevitable tragedy, played out in Hell’s Kitchen where someone is doomed to burn themselves.