Boiling Point (2021) - 9/10
This could go two ways. On one hand I love Stephen Graham. On the other I hate Gordon Ramsey and people shouting in kitchens. Graham plays Andy Jones, head chef in a flash restaurant on a busy day. We’re dropped in at the beginning of the evening and things quickly get cooking. It’s a single shot film. For real apparently, this being Take 3 of 4 and pace is hectic. Andy has a lot on his plate (okay I’ll stop now). He’s missed his kids swimming competition, moved out of the family home and there’s a health inspector turned up. You can feel the heat. The cast is solid, but as soon as Graham steps on screen in his whites, he commands. He’s already broken. Focussed in the wrong places. Full of anger. Anger that’s only enhanced when the inspector Mr Lovejoy (Thomas Coombes) drops the restaurant down from a 5 to a 3. The staff are a fractured team, the whole place under stress, kitchen low on ingredients, bar low on booze. Everyone low on patience. There’s a lot of people, a lot of stories. Personal lives mixed in with orders, the camera dancing a weaving through the restaurant. Surly racist customers, a distressed pastry junior, a dishwasher on the verge of a breakdown and a dude that I’m convinced is gonna slice his hand opening oysters. It’s a wonder they get any food served. I’m not sure I’ve seen a film like this, with a cast like this, so much asked of everyone and everyone delivering. These people are bar staff, waiters, chefs, not actors. Vinette Robinson is a real stand out, she’s magnificent. There’s little ticking time bombs everywhere. Some will be mini disasters, some could be truly devastating. It’s a rollercoaster. Knackering to watch but bloody fantastic. Yes there’s shouting, but not pointless posturing. This is life, the mechanics of emotions laid out raw. Jason Flemyng turns up as an old friend/foe turned TV chef/scumbag, along with a food critic worryingly. Add in a young bloke readying himself to proposed to his girlfriend with a nut allergy and the tables are literally set. It’s of course not about food or restaurants. It’s about people. People struggling, burning out, putting on a brave face. Failing. It’s the best shouty kitchen drama I’ve ever seen. I still hate Gordon Ramsey.