Philip Barantini on Boiling Point: 'My biggest goal for this movie is to try and get people to understand that there is help out there'

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Philip Barantini has been working in the film and TV industry than two decades, And recently co-wrote and directed his second film, Boiling Point.

The one-take feature film - following on a short of the same name -  immerses viewers in a restaurant shift on the busiest night of the year, featuring a cast of stars including celebrated British actor Stephen Graham.

Having premiered in the autumn, it won four awards at the British Independent Film Awards.

In an interview with The Staff Canteen, Philip explained that before he made his name in the world of film and TV, he was a chef - making this film all the more important to him. 

"This was my passion project," he said.

Having risen through the ranks to become a head chef and eventually a consultant to restaurants in the North of England, "I've just seen so many things that you just wouldn't believe - unless you'd worked in the industry."

"There've been movies that you watch and you're like, 'yeah, that's not really hitting the mark, that's not really my experience in hospitality.' I wanted to shine a light on that world and make it as truthful as possible in terms of what I've witnessed. 

'I struggled with my own demons, and there was not really any help out there'

In a period during which industry has suffered so much, some may question whether it is wise to depict the main character - a troubled chef grappling with issues resulting from the intensity of his role.

But just as the lead character in the film, Philip confronted much of what the protagonist faces in the film, and that is what he wanted to convey. 

"I struggled with my own demons, addictions and all that. I've been sober for six years now and my life is completely different to what it was, but I was in a deep dark hole for many years while I was working in those restaurants, and there was not really any help out there in those times. 

Thankfully, the industry has improved in many ways, but just as his friends still working in the industry tell him, Philip believes that mental health and addiction issues are still worth discussing; ignoring them is not a constructive way of dealing with them - whereas a 'talking points' film like this just may be. 

"I didn't want to make a movie to say, 'look how s**t this industry is,' because it's not. It's great. It's a fantastic industry to be in, but like every high-pressured job, there are times when it gets to people and it's tough." 

"It was just a quick hour and a half, non-stop of putting a magnifying glass on that world, so people can see from my point of view of what I've personally experienced and witnessed." 

Speak up

His biggest goal for the film, he explained, "is to try and get people to understand that there is help out there. If they can relate to something in this movie, and it helps them in anyway to speak out, if you know someone who is going through something and you can say, 'okay, I'm here for you,' in that sense, then it's done it's job." 

The chef consultant on the short film was Lerpwl chef owner Ellis Barrie, who Philip considers one of the people leading the charge in making his restaurant a great working environment. 

"Most of his staff only work four days a week, he's got a therapist on standby if ever they want to talk about anything, whether work-related or anything at all. He's a big advocate for mental health and wellbeing and looking out for his staff. 

"When he told me about it. I was like, 'wow, that's exactly what I wish I could have had back in the day'. It is changing, there are things happening - but there's still a way to go."

A love letter to the industry

Far from an outright condemnation of the industry. the film betrays deep affection and love for it too, that perhaps the past year hasn't cast much of a light on - rightly, because the industry had much bigger concerns to grapple with. 

"The thing for me was, when I was working in that industry, it was like a family. It is a family because you spend more time than you do with your normal family usually. 

"I wanted to get all of those nuances across. It's not all doom and gloom - it's tough, but you're in it together."

"You are a family: you hate each other, you love each other, you fight and then you make up and you go out together drinking, it's a mad, incestuous world - but if you work in a good place, it can be great."

One take

To portray the rambunctious and sometimes overwhelming nature of a restaurant shift, Philip and fellow writer James Cummings decided to film Boiling Point in a single take.

"When you're in the middle of a busy service, you don't get a chance to stop," he explained.

"If you have a bad customer or if someone is going through something you don't have time to go, 'let's stop and talk about it.' You're in it, you're on this conveyor belt and it's going in one direction.'" 

"A shift is one take. That's why I wanted to do it in one take, not to be like, 'look how clever we are,' or 'look what we can do,' it was to throw the audience in it and have them immersed in this world and have to go through that and experience it and go on a journey." 

"It's a movie at the end of the day, you've got to come out of it feeling something - whether that's sadness or happiness or, 'I've just gone on a journey.'

"I wanted the movie to be a talking point, for people to walk away from it and be driving home and still be talking about the movie. Ultimately that's why we make these films, right, to get people talking and debating." 


The film was shot in Jones & Sons in Dalston, a restaurant owned by one of Philip's best friends, Andy Jones - who gave his name to Stephen Graham's character. 

Having worked in hospitality together for many years, Philip said, "there was just an abundance of stories - so we put a list of anectodes and things that we'd witnessed and experienced together."

The film features characters anyone who has worked in hospitality will likely find relatable: the supportive, stoic sous-chef; the disconnected, nepotist general manager; the only-ever-so-serious bartender; the hardline hygiene officer; the obnoxious TV chef; the 'off-duty' food critic and the outright rude customer, to name a few.

But Boiling Point only scratches the surface of a universe with so many moving parts - and the director would like to portray them in more detail in the future, given the opportunity.

"There's still a list here, so we're talking about potentially doing something set in that world for the TV - because I don't think it's ever been done other than comedies."

In cinemas near you

Set for release on the 7th January 2022 in cinemas and on digital platforms, the director would like for as many people as possible to see Boiling Point on the big screen. 

"It is an immersive experience, you want the surround sound, we purposefully did it in that way so that it was all around you."

But after a year and a half of delays, he said, "I'm just grateful that the movie is going to be out there and seen and recognised. So far, it's been released in the US, it's hard a great reception over there, so hopefully we'll get a nice reception in the UK as well." 

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article or in the film trailer above, you might find the following resources helpful:

The Burnt Chef Project Support Service, accessible online or via 0800 915 4610

OK REHAB - Addiction Support accessible online or via 0800 326 5559

The Samaritans 24/7 helpline 116 123

Hospitality Action Support

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 5th January 2022

Philip Barantini on Boiling Point: 'My biggest goal for this movie is to try and get people to understand that there is help out there'