Boiling Point

Boiling Point ★★★★

While a lot of attention will be taken by Philip Barantini's direction, filming this in one take, I want to first focus on the acting. It's expected in any film, especially one with an ensemble cast such as this, that you will get at least one or two performances that are in the weak link category. Boiling Point has no such weak link. No performance is worse than 7 out of 10. And the foundation of the story working so effectively comes in its performances.

Stephen Graham does career best work. Vinette Robinson does career best work. Thomas Coombes does career best work. Ray Panthaki does career best work. Alice Feetham does career best work. While Lauryn Ajufo and Aine Rose Daly are both exciting younger talents who are worth keeping an eye on. But there is no bad or mediocre performance from anyone in this film.

What Barantini and his team also do so well is taking important social issues without them subsuming the narrative. The subtle ways it addresses bigotry was especially impressive. Watch how men interact with women, how white people interact with Black people, how light skinned Black people interact with darker Black people, how straight people interact with gay people. And at the top are white men, self-absorbed and totally ill-equipped to use their power responsibly, leaving those beneath them to pick up their mess. It's this nuance that made the drama feel lived in, and removed any artifice that would take an audience out of the story.

The one-take aspect is executed with great proficiency, but it felt like a shrewd creative choice instead of a gimmick. The absence of cuts gives us no room to breathe easy. Add to that the enclosed location, and the sound editing. This puts us in the similar headspace to the characters. Barantini doesn't make a single false choice in constructing this movie. It still would have worked with different decision making, but wouldn’t have worked as well. The final choices made has given us one of 2021's best films.

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