Screenshot from the movie “Boiling Point”
© Alpine Films
The British film Boiling Point, directed by actor Phil Barantini, is based on the eponymous short film of 2019. Stephen Graham from Guy Ritchie’s Snatch and Boardwalk Empire and This Is England portrays the head chef of a modern London restaurant on the verge of a nervous breakdown .
The film observes the classic unit of time, place and action. We watch a few hours of the institution’s life and the image was shot in a long frame – like Alexander Sokurov’s “Russian Ark” once was. This means that in reality there is not a single cut in the Boiling Point, unlike, for example, Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope or Sam Mendes’s 1917, who want to appear to be shooting in just one shot. Boiling Point was filmed in a real restaurant in just four shots, with the final shot being the third. This technique allows you to immerse yourself in the events as much as possible, to seamlessly change the audience’s attention from one character to another and to feel the intensity increase every second, almost suspense, inherent in thrillers (the water is about to boil! ). The Boiling Point team managed to cope with its difficult task, according to most critics: on rottentomatoes.com aggregator, the film has a 99% rating.
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Chef Andy Jones’s day has not been set from the beginning. He is late for work, forgets to buy groceries, misses his son’s event (Andy recently left the family). An inspector arrives at a restaurant that is expected to be fully boarded on Christmas Eve and discovers a number of irregularities. For example, a practitioner does not know that you can not wash your hands and do your shopping in the same sink (did you know that?). No one fills in the magazines correctly – Andy was not up to par. As a result, the restaurant’s rating is reduced by up to two points.
But this is not the worst. It is known that a TV star, the famous chef Alistair Sky, for whom Andy once worked – played by another actor of Guy Ritchie, Jason Fleming, has set a table for the night. Not only does Alistair bring with her the ruthless restaurant critic Sarah Southworth (Lourdes Fabers), but she also demands that Andy repay a huge debt. All this happens against the background of the stress that is repeated daily: it is necessary to quickly distribute all the tasks, to answer all the questions of colleagues, to refrain from conflicts with clients – in the end, the client is always right, even if it is in fact not. But Andy’s main task is not to let the intensity of his passions and his own harmful addictions destroy him. True, this does not seem to be the case.
The film’s director, Phil Barantini, at a time when he was not creative enough, got a job in a restaurant and went from the lowest position to the chef. As a result, the “boiling point” proved credible (some other chefs have already confirmed it) and he suffered emotionally. As you watch, you think about the fact that we do not appreciate the work of those who feed us enough, no matter how pathetic it sounds. Not only are these people constantly in a state of struggle and stress, they are not only sometimes forced to tolerate customer inadequacies, but also to take responsibility for someone else’s life. What if, for example, an error occurs and an ingredient enters the dish that causes a terrible allergic reaction in the guest?
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British directors and screenwriters are able to invent even the most minor characters in such a way that you believe in them and sympathize with them no less than the main ones. “Boiling Point” in this sense is truly British cinema. In it, each employee is not only a cog in the complex mechanism of the restaurant, without which its normal operation is impossible, but also a bright character with his own pain.
A black waitress is forced to save her face and endure the boring, clearly racist behavior towards one of the guests. The manager, trying to please the customers and bring in the most revenue to her father, who is an investor in the restaurant, cries in the bathroom: everyone in the kitchen hates her. Soussef is doomed to correct the mistakes of his boss, who is barely able to carry out his duties, indulging in self-destruction. The waiter faces comical, but no less ugly harassment of guests. The trainee from France does not know English very well and is also not accustomed to such an active work pace. A young man from the patisserie injures himself. It seems that only the dishwasher and the janitor are fine, because he is not very interested in the job. Andy does not scold him much for that.
Andy’s charm is that, despite the periodic, moreover, justified, outbursts of irritability, in fact, he loves and appreciates every member of the team, he cares about everyone. The employees of the restaurant at the “Boiling Point” form a large, not at all ideal, prone to conflict, but still a family (perhaps, only the manager, who is at a different level of hierarchy, does not fit there, while everyone else is essentially equal). But, unfortunately, even in a loving family, you may suffer from loneliness and not be able to share your problems and emotional experiences.
The “boiling point” eventually becomes a story about the weight a modern man carries on himself. Women are more likely to talk openly, to share their problems with others – as critic Sarah admits, who finds it difficult to reconcile work and family worries. Andy prefers to pour alcohol on problems instead of pouring his heart out to friends or experts, and absolutely no one benefits from such behavior.