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Boiling Point (Film Review)

3 min read
Stephen Graham in Boiling Point

A tense is a familiar appearance on our screens, and his raw talent is pitch perfect as 's moody and volatile Andy Jones.

The culinary creation of director Philip Barantini, the genius of Boiling Point (2021) far exceeds its modest budget. Originally a 2019 short film, it was adapted for the big screen against the backdrop of COVID-19. Following critical acclaim, the one-shot film is being released as a limited-edition box set. Bursting with special features, this new Blu-Ray version includes exclusive audio commentary from the film's writers, producers and actors.

In this busy London restaurant on ‘Mad Friday'—falling just before Christmas—the audience are immersed in a melting pot of chaos, miscommunication and microaggressions. Before the doors are opened, we are witness to the madness behind the shiny façade.

Our first impression is head chef Andy rushing through the backstreets of the capital, shrouded in darkness. The camera captures his exhaustion and exasperation as he fails to be there for his young son, presumably not for the first time.

When a wired Andy arrives at the restaurant, the health inspector is mid-way through his damning assessment of the restaurant. Between untidy workstations and incomplete paperwork, the establishment's perfect five rating plummets to a three. For Andy, the sour cherry on top is an unlabelled order of turbot binned by the unimpressed inspector. The night is already off to a bad start. We are encouraged to view the Environmental Health representative, with his useful advice peppered with patronising comments, as a busybody jobsworth. However, his role is crucial in foreshadowing the night's tragic mistakes.

Stephen Graham in Boiling Point

As they make silly errors, Andy snaps at his junior colleagues Camille (Izuka Hoyle) and Freeman (Ray Panthaki). His tonic comes in the form of no-nonsense sous chef Carly, the excellent Vinette Robinson. As revealed in the audio commentary with Panthaki and Jason Flemyng (as the wonderfully sycophantic TV chef Alistair Skye), the characters' chemistry is thanks to the actors' real-life rapport.

The film is not all chaos, however, as there is a beautiful, tender moment between kind pastry chef Emily and her protégé Jamie (a wonderful pairing of Hannah Walters and Stephen McMillan). It is small, meaningful moments like this that prove letting emotions run free in a one-take film is a risk worth taking.

The box set special features offer an exclusive insight into the making of Boiling Point. A comment from producer Hester Ruoff explains why the health inspector greeted the restaurant staff with “good morning”. It is a throwaway comment that reveals so much; this dark December evening is the start of their day as they prepare for a night shift filled with food preparation and prickly diners.

Throughout the night, the overworked team of chefs try to navigate off-menu requests and extra covers—unhelpfully plated high by maître d' Beth (Alice Feetham). Boiling Point is edge-of-the-seat viewing. Watching the flurry of hostile clients, exhausted staff and devastating mistakes makes for 92 minutes of waiting for the inevitable moment when the pot boils over.

Released on 21 November, the limited-edition Boiling Point is complete with essays and collectors' art cards. Perfect for film lovers, it is encased in a striking slipcase with artwork from Andrew Bannister and includes a special feature, The Making of Boiling Point.

Special Features 

  • Audio commentary with producers Hester Ruoff, Bart Ruspoli and Writer James Cummings
  • Audio commentary with actors Ray Panthaki and Jason Flemyng
  • Boiling Over: an interview with Hester Ruoff
  • Pot Boiler: an interview with Bart Ruspoli
  • Simmering Steady: an interview with James Cummings
  • The Making of Boiling Point

Limited Edition Contents

  • Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Andrew Bannister
  • 70-page soft cover book with new essays by Howard Gorman, Clarisse Loughrey and Christina Newland plus exclusive interview with Cinematographer Matthew Lewis by Matthew Thrift
  • 6 collectors' art cards

 

Boiling Point is released on Limited Edition Blu-ray from Second Sight on November 21st