Stephen Graham Cook’s Self-Destructing Drama Seasons One-Take Restaurant
Restaurants are notoriously unstable businesses, even though the allure of showbiz around food has elevated them to a level that is more than just places to have a meal. Movies generally don’t bother to capture the stressful chaos of a full-blast kitchen made up of diverse and overworked personalities; the stories we get instead usually focus on star chefs as heroic leaders or cuisine lovingly photographed as balm for the soul.
However, passion comes at a price. That’s why the British indie “Boiling Point” – set in a London hotspot on a decisive night, with Stephen Graham as its nervous and preoccupied chef – a rare attempt to combat what’s going on at the inside these cramped, pressurized spaces. It is also an admirable failure, insofar as its strengths are still in competition with a regrettable artistic choice of the director-co-writer Philip Barantini: to shoot “Boiling Point” As one shot.
Movies shot in one take are feats of bravery. “Russian Arch”) or designed to look like this with clever editing (“Birdman”, “1917”). However, movies are not enhanced by this. It’s easy to see how Barantini could equate the frenetic flow of a restaurant with energy that never stops, and admittedly, a scenario like ‘Boiling Point’ is perhaps more suited to this. kind of virtuosity than other stories.
But never cut is also a kind of never choose, and the various interpersonal dynamics created by Barantini and James Cummings’ storyline deserve more – reaction shots, spatial variation, temporal manipulation – than a visual gadget designed to seem fast but that grows. tiring as shown by its aesthetic constraints.
What always creeps in is the cast, starting with Graham’s Andy Jones, breaking into his buzz-generating restaurant late in the minutes leading up to an incredibly busy night with clearly a lot going on (and in his system, perhaps, if the sticky sips from that water bottle are any indication). A first round of shouting at his staff carries a slight puff of cover for his own mistakes, but it’s also clear that his core team – led by the reliable and keen-eyed sous-chef Carly (a wonderful Vinette Robinson) and chef fiery kitchen chef Freeman (Ray Panthaki) – are ready to do whatever it takes to make the night a night to remember.
They’ll need it too, as Andy’s former mentor-partner Alistair Skye (Jason Flemyng), whose rise to celebrity chef status, and the fact that his mate is an upscale restaurant critic (Lourdes Faberes), clearly irritates Andy, adding an extra layer of tension to the night service.
“Boiling Point” is best for making us aware of the mistakes, humiliations and assaults that make service industry work brutal work, especially when it depends on the fluidity of communication and a good dose of indignation swallowed. There’s the obnoxious big spender who talks sweetly to the blond white waiter, but when he has to interact with a black waitress becomes rude and insulting. An off-menu order from an obnoxious table of Instagram food influencers is accepted by traveling hostess Beth (Alice Feetham) without any consideration for the kitchen’s ability to fill it.
This latest dilemma leads to the film’s best-written and best-acted moment, as the underrated Carly explosively reduces Beth’s disrespect, a raw screed on disrespect and unfairness imagine being able to repeat itself in restaurants around the world.
But this inter-employee dynamic must share the space with the less satisfying and predictable story of Andy and Alistair, which is affected by an even bigger turning point for the restaurant, linked to the surprise proposal of a dinner for his little one. friend, who you can see coming from a mile away. It was already too late. ‘Boiling Point’ brings its strands of friction to its head, the initial intensity of Graham’s portrayal of a bruised and self-destructive character is dispelled by the film’s temporal rigidity and the invariably jaded moments that follow the minor characters we know. are there to give the main actors time to prepare for their next moment.
Graham, Robinson and Barantini’s thematic preoccupations with restaurant operations are sufficiently powerful ingredients. It’s a shame they were subjected to the single note aroma of a single take film.
“Boiling Point” It opens in US theaters Friday and online Tuesday.