Boiling Point

Philip Barantini's one-shot thriller is a precise, anxious and feverish tale of one hectic night in a London restaurant

Film Review by Beatrice Copland | 16 Dec 2021
  • Boiling Point
Film title: Boiling Point
Director: Philip Barantini
Starring: Stephen Graham, Vinette Robinson, Alice Feetham, Jason Flemyng, Ray Panthaki, Malachi Kirby
Release date: 29 Dec
Certificate: 15

The hospitality industry can be nightmarish, especially in the world of fine dining, where the pressure to meticulously assemble a perfect plate of food is often exacerbated by a lack of staff and exacting deadlines. It provides the perfect arena for the culinary thriller Boiling Point, which takes place in a fictional London restaurant on a particularly busy winter’s evening where any mistake could lead to disaster. An under-qualified manager, an alcoholic head chef, and their short-handed kitchen must balance a marriage proposal, a nut allergy and a surprise visit from a prolific food critic.

Just reading this description raises the blood pressure but Boiling Point amplifies this anxiety through precise camera work, with cinematographer Matthew Lewis appearing to capture the action in one continuous shot. The technique creates the same excitement of live theatre, switching smoothly between characters by shifting focus during conversations. Veteran British actors Stephen Graham, Vinette Robinson and Jason Flemyng carry the film’s emotional weight while the supporting cast allows the story to swirl around them. The result is a feverish film that flows and keeps emotions heightened.

Even in the few quiet moments, where characters take an aside to calm down, tension doesn’t break. Just as you take a breath and process the emotions on screen, you’re hit with another plot wrinkle. Watching Boiling Point is like experiencing a slow-burning anxiety attack; when it finally boils over it feels like being released.

Released 7 Jan by Vertigo; certificate 15