Boldly unfolding over the course of one single continuous take, Philip Barantini’s knife-edge, restaurant-set drama follows one chef in a state of meltdown.
Stephen Graham is Andy Jones, the chef and co-owner of an upmarket London restaurant. Arriving late to work at the start of a busy night, he finds himself assailed by a visiting health official (Thomas Coombes), the front-of-house manager (Alice Feetham), his second-in-command (Vinette Robinson) and faced with a visit by a former boss who is now a celebrity TV chef (Jason Flemyng). There are also problems at home. And Andy’s substance abuse is clearly getting the better of him. These are all in addition to the pressures of an average night in a restaurant, creating a situation that drives Andy to the edge.
Barantini’s decision to shoot the film in one take is ruthlessly effective in ramping up the tension, from new waiter Andrea’s (Lauryn Ajufo) encounter with a racist customer to Andy’s interaction with fellow chef Alastair and the restaurant critic (Rosa Escoda) joining him for dinner. Brilliantly lit by Matthew Lewis, whose camera roves the restaurant, kitchen and alleys outside the venue, highlighting the stark contrast between the cool atmosphere of the eating area with the hectic scenes as food is prepared, Boiling Point gradually ratchets up the tension until the film earns its title, a white-knuckle diet of bad tempers, short fuses and rushing adrenaline.