Boiling Point (2021) presents itself as the perfect tool for raising awareness about current problems that every bar and restaurant worker must suffer in their day-to-day life. Philip Barantini paints a very vivid portrait of the hospitality industry and the stress suffered by all chefs, bartenders, dishwashers, and everyone who takes part in offering a great experience to the customer.
Lately, it seems like the continuous shot has become a trend in filmmaking. There are several movies edited to appear as one shot, such as Birdman (2014), 1917 (2019), Gaspar Noé’s Irreversible (2002), and Enter the Void (2009). Nevertheless, few of them are actually one single take. For instance, the recent Japanese project One Cut of the Dead (2017), the Norwegian Blind Spot (2018), or the movie reviewed here, Boiling Point (2021) are true uses of one, unbroken shot.
It seems like a lot of pictures are made using this technique just because they have the necessary means to produce them. A lot of directors don’t consider the fact that this is actually a very powerful storytelling tool. In this case, Barantini’s choice of shooting the whole film in only one take is brilliant. He doesn’t only achieve the goal of creating a dynamic idea about what it means to give a dinner service in a luxurious restaurant, but he also manages to transmit the stress that the characters are suffering, how everything works in these posh restaurants, and the problems they must cope with. You can sense the dense atmosphere and the feeling of being under pressure in every situation.
Like any other restaurant in London, people from all around the world work in these places. The film depicts perfectly how the lowest-paid employees struggle with the language barrier, as is the case of Maria, a Latin-American dishwasher, who must work hard while her co-worker sneaks out of his duties whenever he can. Oppositely, people working in the kitchen have different origins, holding a strong resemblance to reality.
Finally, it's remarkable how good both Vinette Robinson and Stephen Graham’s performances are in this film. Andy (Stephen Graham) is buried in debt and family problems. It is very hard for him to find the balance between work and personal life. While you are watching all the situations he is living through, you rapidly empathize with him and put yourself in his shoes. He only finds support in his friend and co-worker Carly (Vinette Robinson).
All this perfectly elaborated script, together with the one-take shot resource, will make you feel like you are inside the screen, and solidifies Boiling Point as one of the greatest movies of 2021. We will have to wait to see if the Oscars will reward this picture properly. So far, it has already achieved four awards at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA), including best cinematography and supporting actress (Vinette Robinson).