Boiling Point: 90 Minutes Filmed in One Shot
Posted on March 31, 2022
If you need a new film to obsess over, the drama-filled Boiling Point will have you on the edge of your seat for its entirety. Released this past January, it was immediately nominated for four awards at the 2022 British Academy Film Awards, including the category for Outstanding British Film and Best Casting.
The intense film follows the pressure-filled and fast-paced environment of a 5-star restaurant in London on their busiest night of the year. Poor management, demotions, miscommunications, personal affairs, and vengeful associates create more and more tension throughout the film, leading the night to its fateful demise.
What’s most interesting about the 90-minute film is that it was shot all in one take. From start to finish, without any cuts. Reaching 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, critics have called it an “immersive experience,” as well as a “technical and artistic tour de force.”
While the technical achievement of the single-shot movie has been questioned before, it convincingly works in Boiling Point. The format strengthens the drama by putting the viewer in a reality that they can’t escape, which becomes even more powerful with each character and their unexplored but potent arc.
Creating a movie in the first place is already difficult and time-consuming, with having to secure locations, draw location plans, storyboarding, and lighting. That’s until you realize how perfectly orchestrated and fine-tuned the production crew had to be on Boiling Point to pull off filming it in one shot. Not only was communication crucial between production members in ensuring everyone and everything was on cue, but the actors had the added pressure of not messing up their lines and staying in character for the entire shoot.
To be able to successfully shoot the film, modifications had to be made to the typical filming process. Instead of having the cast and crew come to set on scheduled days, director Philip Barantini says that “all the actors were there, everyday, in all the rehearsals, and all the crew were there everyday in the rehearsals,” as well as for the entirety of the shoot. As for filming it, a Sony Venice digital cinema camera in 6K was used because the SD cards could be swapped live without stopping the recording.
Shooting the film in one take was strongly motivated by Barantini’s past experiences of working in a restaurant kitchen. He explains that its purpose wasn’t only to “draw the audience in” to the narrative of the film, but to experience the fast-moving and unforgiving dynamic of being part of the kitchen staff in a busy restaurant.
Overall, Boiling Point is a cinematic accomplishment, not only for its technical considerations, but for its compelling narrative in being able to bring the viewers into the events of the story by keeping them engaged and on the edge of their seats. The film has solidified its spot as being one of my favourites, and I can’t wait to see what else Barantini’s career has in store for him.