Boiling Point – Film Review

Hospitality can be an incredibly high pressure and fast-moving workplace, especially in the kitchen and dining industry. Boiling Point takes aim at this and puts a focused lens on a team in a popular London restaurant on one of the busiest days of the year, Christmas Eve.

Boiling Point is a fantastic example of a true one-shot film, which is a cinematic style I’m really starting to fall in love with. The set is kept simple yet spacious, a large restaurant with two kitchens, some corridors, and a back-alley way, allowing the camera to easily roam through the space and follow the action. It feels like you’re just someone’s shadow throughout the film.

The cast put in an incredible performance; the film being completed in only 4 takes instead of the 8 they had planned. Stephen Graham as head chef Andy is sensational! He delivers a rollercoaster ride of emotions throughout the film and left my heart aching with the ending that has been executed. But I can’t let Graham’s performance overshadow Vinette Robinson as executive chef Carly, portraying a strong yet vulnerable member of the kitchen team that in all reality, does a lot of the work and carries Andy throughout the night.

The main gripe I have with this film is the story. It’s a pretty simple premise, really, but it draws a lot of inspiration from general hospitality stereotypes. There’s the struggling chef, addiction, abusive customers, understaffed, underpaid, and all the other trimmings. If you work or have worked in the hospitality industry, you’ll pick them straight away.

Boiling Point is also quite predictable at times, which I’m not sure if intentional or not, but the big reveal just didn’t leave the impact I thought it would. This, along with the character stereotypes just felt a little lazy to me.

Strangely, the film has no musical soundtrack, which I felt was an interesting choice, but I can understand why it was left out. I felt that I could connect more with the characters without music overpowering the scenes, but it still felt strange to have a restaurant without any background music, even in the dining room.

So, is Boiling Point bad? Well, no. But it isn’t fantastic either. The performances from the cast were impressive, but the film is really let down by the poor writing. For a ‘busy’ restaurant on one of its biggest nights of trade, it sure didn’t have the hustle and bustle nor did the film capture the energy of a fast-paced environment. Really, it just left me wanting a little bit more; a pinch of salt and a touch of pepper to lift it up and make it a perfectly rounded film to suit my tastes.

Boiling Point is being screening in Australia as part of the 2021 British Film Festival presented by Palace Cinemas.
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