“Boiling Point” is a skillfully made drama film about operational troubles at a popular London restaurant. Directed by Philip Barantini, the film focuses on the management, or more so, the mismanagement at the establishment, as the entire staff tries to deal with the faults of each other. Things are exacerbated by utter miscommunication and unprecedented external factors, all while some of the staff go through tremendous internal struggles. Along with a great script that keeps it tight-gripping and fresh till the very end, “Boiling Point” also follows the single-take style with no cuts at all and makes for a really compelling and enjoyable watch.
Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
At the center of the chaos is head chef Andy Jones who arrives late at “Jones & Sons”, the restaurant he partly owns. Andy has been caught up in personal troubles and his problems keep increasing as a food safety inspector has suddenly turned up for a review. The inspector, who seems to be too particular on certain matters, decides to lower the restaurant’s safety rating from five to three, owing to some minor negligence and Andy’s irregular record keeping. Although disappointed by the rating, the staff hardly has any time to discuss it as they quickly brush over it and prepare for a very busy night ahead.
Being a night on a weekend just before Christmas, the up-market London restaurant has been overbooked while they also struggle with a shortage of some raw material stock. This responsibility to order stock was once again Andy’s, and he has failed to keep up with it. Andy has recently been divorced and struggles to live after being separated from his family, particularly from his young son, which very evidently starts affecting his professional life. On this particular night, his partner chef Carly tries to help him out and reel him back to the present moment, but the whole ordeal gets increasingly more difficult as celebrity chef Alastair Skye, a former colleague of Andy, drops in. To make things worse, the staff clash with each other, and then a terrible mishap occurs with a young couple who had come in to celebrate a proposal.
A Kitchen Nightmare Indeed
Things soon start to look a bit shaky, with some of the workers arriving late for work, and some taking irresponsibly long breaks. Head waitress Beth, whose father owns the majority of the restaurant business, seems to boss over everyone else while she herself is evidently lacking in her responsibilities. Firstly, being in charge of the table reservations, she had mistakenly over-booked the place and created extreme pressure on the staff. Moreover, she had failed to make an entry into the system about a guest’s allergies, and the chefs had to do with hurried hand-written notes of instructions passed to them. Beth is more fascinated by the idea of the restaurant making a name on social media, and when some Instagram food reviewers ask for food outside of the menu, she orders the chefs to deliver, despite the pressure building upon them. She tries to sternly manage every other worker in the restaurant despite her own obvious flaws. Carly has a breakdown and confronts Beth. She insults her, makes some personal remarks that do not go down well with Beth, as she was oblivious to her mistakes.
On the other side, Andy discovers that Alastair Skye has brought along an infamously harsh food critic, Sara, along with him, and Alastair is obnoxiously judgmental of Andy’s cooking and overall choices. Soon it is revealed that Alastair’s presence in the restaurant, particularly with Sara, is a bit of arm twisting, for he fears going bankrupt and wants back two hundred thousand pounds which Andy had borrowed from him earlier. In the meantime, the young man who had reserved a table informing that he would be proposing to his girlfriend had also made the staff aware that his girlfriend was allergic to nuts. But soon things take the worst turn for them as well as the restaurant as the girlfriend suffers an allergic reaction and an ambulance needs to be called to get her treated. Taking advantage of the situation, Alastair proposes that Andy should put all the blame on Carly and fire her, and then have Alastair become his partner chef, in exchange for the money that Andy is unable to pay back.
“Boiling Point” beautifully makes itself about the many staff members who try to do their best in the restaurant and also those who don’t. With its single-take no-cut form, it follows the characters one by one, even to their deepest and loneliest places. Andrea, one of the servers, has a horrible time with an essentially conservative white family who act disrespectfully towards her only because of her darker skin color. Another server, Dean, grows tired of having to behave in a stereotypically sweet and queer manner with a group of American women guests because of his sexual orientation. Beth seems comfortable enough to serve a group of extremely sexist men only because of their Instagram influence but is terribly shaken by Carly stating facts about her incompetence. Pastry chef Emily and her young apprentice Jamie also have a moment when Emily finds out that Jamie bears marks of self-abuse on his wrist, and the two promise to discuss it and help each other when there would be fewer people around. Despite the two not being related by blood, there is a genuine bond between them that easily resembles a mother-son connection. Much of the beauty of this film is in the many interactions that all these characters have with themselves and the guests, and all of it is executed and performed fairly well.
How Does It Reach Boiling Point And Eventually Spill Over?
After an ambulance arrives and treats the sick guest, Andy calls for a quick meeting with all the chefs and helpers in the kitchen where they try to find out how the guest could have possibly been served nuts. Although the immediate fault had been made by one of the junior chefs, the responsibility of the accident did fall on the shoulders of Beth as well as Andy. Freeman, the third main chef in the kitchen bursts out in anger and accuses Andy of all the failures, and brings up his alcoholism. Triggered by his words Andy rushes towards him to physically assault him and a fight is somehow avoided by the rest of the staff. Alastair comes to take his part in the kitchen meltdown but Andy pushes him out and takes a short break.
He goes to one of the rooms at the back of the establishment, drinks half a bottle of whisky at one go, and snorts some cocaine, all of which he seems to be heavily addicted to. He then calls up his ex-wife and emotionally promises to be a good father to his son, but then as he leaves the room, he falls to the floor clutching his chest and possibly suffers a cardiac arrest. The film ends here, and the question of what happens to Andy or his restaurant remains unanswered. It might be that Andy dies from the attack, or he might have recovered, but the fate of the restaurant is perhaps a bit more certain.
Only a few scenes ago Carly had informed Andy that she would be leaving the restaurant. So with one head chef resigned and another having suffered a cocaine-induced cardiac attack on the same evening when a guest suffered a terrible allergic reaction because the food served to her does not bode well for any restaurant, it becomes difficult to imagine the restaurant still running. The film’s plot is a nightmare from the very beginning and it does not provide any respite till the end.
‘Boiling Point’ is a mix of brilliant screenplay with even better cinematography and direction. Having managed to create a one-and-a-half-hour-long film with no cuts which tells a gripping story deserves great praise. The camera follows one character after another, sometimes waiting for a different character to arrive on the scene to follow them, and reveals more about the characters bit-by-bit through it. These, along with great acting performances and a very minimal but apt use of sound makes ‘Boiling Point’ a great film to watch.
“Boiling Point” is a 2021 Drama Thriller film directed by Philip Barantini.