Combustible Celluloid
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With: Stephen Graham, Vinette Robinson, Alice Feetham, Jason Flemyng, Ray Panthaki, Malachi Kirby, Lourdes Faberes, Izuka Hoyle, Hannah Walters, Taz Skylar, Lauryn Ajufo
Written by: Philip Barantini, James Cummings
Directed by: Philip Barantini
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language and some drug use
Running Time: 92
Date: 11/19/2021

Boiling Point (2021)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I love food movies, Christmas movies, and movies composed in long, unbroken takes, so what could be better than Philip Barantini's Boiling Point? Well, there are better movies. It's relentlessly downbeat — the camera glides past holiday decorations without a hint of festiveness — and its tipping point is all too easy to spot. But I was drawn in by its furious energy and by Stephen Graham's rich, tightrope-walking portrayal of chef Andy Jones, just barely keeping it together after several life setbacks. The camerawork is unfailingly logical, sometimes drifting off and following smaller characters, while the passage of time always feels just right. (The movie was expanded from an earlier short film, and, indeed, filmed in one single shot.) As it begins, Andy reports for work while speaking to his ex-wife on the phone; he's been living out of a suitcase and hasn't seen his daughter for a while. A snippy health inspector is at the restaurant, knocking off points for small infractions. Workers are late, staff are arguing amongst themselves, and customers are rude and/or idiotic. And that water bottle Andy carries around doesn't just have water in it. Worse, celebrity chef Alistair Skye (Jason Flemyng) — to whom Andy owes money — has dropped in with food critic Sara Southworth (Lourdes Faberes) for a bite. It's a high-speed train wreck gradually going off the rails, but it's quite a ride, and the crash at the end is devastating.

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