It is not only the culinary setting that unites the film Boiling Point, currently in theaters, and The Bear, the series on Disney +, but also the use of the long shot to show the constant tension behind the scenes of a kitchen. Here are similarities and differences.
He’s at the cinema Boiling Point – Disaster is served, the second feature by Philip Barantini with Stephen Graham, in which the director has chosen a single take to tell the stress and pressure behind the scenes in the kitchen of a starred restaurant. The same technique was used in the seventh episode of The Bear, one of the revelation series of the year, to tell the same type of environment even if we are talking about a family-run sandwich shop that the protagonist played by Jeremy Allen White would like to turn into a refined place, or at least a healthy and organized work environment. What do movies and TV series have in common and why did they use the same technique? Let’s find out together in this comparison Boiling Point And The Bear: when the sequence shot runs into the kitchen.
Philip Barantini’s film creature is like a pressure cooker. It puts so many ingredients into the pot that it threatens to explode at the boiling point. Just like the protagonist Andy (Stephen Graham) who seems to take charge of the problems of all his employees and at the same time not to care at all, due to too many personal thoughts, the debts he is facing and which unfortunately often go hand in hand with the difficult world of catering. The director chooses to use the technique of sequence plan with a narrative function, i.e. to restore to the spectator the constant tension of work in the kitchen of a starred restaurant. As we will see in The Bear in reality this can be associated with any kitchen in reality, which proves to be less and less organized than one would like.
In Boiling Point, the tension is palpable as the camera follows all the employees, not just Andy, in their moments of silent desperation: from the head nurse Emily to the bathroom, who we guess only got that job thanks to her father but doesn’t really know what he’s doing, the slacker dishwasher always in the alley behind the restaurant to smoke a cigarette, or the waiters mistreated by customers. Curiously, a review is involved, just as will happen in the episode of The Bear, only that while there it has already been written here it is in existence, because a food critic is tricked into having dinner with a former associate of Andy. In short, the evening will prove to be the most difficult and chaotic since he opened the restaurant. Andy too, as will happen to Carmy, has to live under new management: the first left the previous partner to start his own business, the second received it “inherited” from his deceased brother.
The Bear, the review: a cooking lesson… and life
The one of The Bear instead he is a beast, tireless, always hungry and thirsty, always out of control, who desperately seeks mental balance before physical and work. This is Jeremy Allen White’s Carmy, having to contend with the constant obstacles posed by her cousin (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) and other unfortunate twists and turns that characterize The Original Beef of Chicagoland. The seventh episode, titled Review, ie The review, is written by Joanna Calo and is shot completely in one shot by the creator of the comedy Christopher Storer himself, to increase what in the previous episodes the tight editing, the sudden camera movements, the dirty photography, the colors of the food on the plates . What we could call the “Boiling Point effect”. It all starts with a positive review of the renovated venue, for what will turn out to be the worst day since they reopened under Carmy’s new management, following the suicide death of her brother Mikey (Jon Bernthal).
Curiously, there is another parallel between the two kitchen managers: Carmy relies heavily (perhaps too much) on the latest arrival Sydney (Ayo Edebiri), a young black intern, soon promoted to Sous Chef for her farsighted and organizational vision of catering. Theirs is a relationship that will dangerously lose its balance, leading to an explosive confrontation at the end of this episode. An event similar to what happens in Boiling Point – Disaster is served between Andy and his sous-chef Carly (Vinette Robinson), a young black woman who too often finds herself covering up the Chef’s problems, consequently taking charge of them. In a beautiful and touching monologue, similar to the one between Carmy and Sydney, there will be a showdown of the parties involved in the direction of the kitchen. Both restaurants have also faced the pandemic and come out with significant debts, whether old or new management. However, the resolution will be different: if the confrontation in The Bear seems cathartic and could lead to new hope, the one in Boiling Point seems to mark a point of no return especially for the protagonist.
Boiling Point, the film review: Stephen Graham in the sequence shot of the year
Boiling Point, because the TV series could ruin the movie
NB: This paragraph may contain spoilers on the Boiling Point ending.
We are not here to pronounce on an even productive idea of continuing and expanding the narrative universe of Barantini’s film on TV, with the series ordered by the BBC for 2023. The choice, however, in the light of the initial information gathered, seems to us takes away part of the magic and narrative strength of the feature film. That’s because the show will be a sequel to the events seen on the big screen, in 5 parts set six months after the end of the film, with Graham and Walters reprising their roles of Andy and Emily, following Andy’s former Sous Chef, Carly ( Vinette Robinson), as head chef at her restaurant. Let’s leave out the purely technical part for now, because we wonder if 5 totally one-shot episodes are possible and sensible, even if it would certainly be an innovative experiment – Graham and Walters talked about “extraordinarily long shots, and shooting techniques that will complete the pure naturalism of the film“. Let’s come instead to the content part: that distressing and devastating finale, on black, with only the background voices of the rushing staff, and the underlying message of the boiling point Andy’s character had arrived at, loses gravitas and meaning if we already know that he will survive and that there will be a sequel, while remaining impactful.