BOILING POINT – Short Film Review
BOILING POINT is not a film with high production value, pretty faces or showy effects. BOILING POINT is at the heart of what the future of great filmmaking is to be, which is exactly the place it has been for some time now… in the hands of passionate indie filmmakers, not held back by a lack of budget or resources. BOILING POINT is an indie film, not without it’s flaws, but rich with unrefined morsels of creative talent just waiting to be polished out from within rigid exterior.
Metronome Productions, a student film company based around Edge Hill University, may not be on the average movie watchers’ map, but the drive with which they are attempting to expose their films to the public is what convinced me to have a look at the film, and ultimately to write this review.
Written by Jack Leigh, who also co-directed the film with Sam Bewick, BOILING POINT is a suspenseful character study that draws on the creepiness of Owen Davis the Private Investigator, played by Christopher Lee Power, a brooding, pushy man with a pale complexion and stress in his face. The younger man being questioned, Paul Connors, is played by Gavin Hodson. The choice of wardrobe, even the casting based on appearances, detract slightly from this characters’ believability. I found the accent, the style of speech and mannerisms intriguing, but had difficulty accepting them as part of the character I saw on screen. I wanted the Paul Connors to appear rougher, or in some way appear potentially dangerous.
The Private Investigator applies his questions slowly, methodically, as we watch the man being questioned slowly unravel. The emphasis on contrast, with the heavy shadows and nearly overblown highlights is standard fair for this sort of story, but what caught my attention in BOILING POINT was the intricate, while not yet perfected, use of the camera. Curious, but understated angles — whereas many students go ridiculously hog wild like a kid with $20 in a candy store — is what keeps the viewer visually connected to the film. There are fluid moving shots and opportune moments, gently revealing character reactions in ways that enhance the characters’ emotions.
As the title suggests, BOILING POINT is interwoven with cutaways of a coffee pot and the like, which not only gives the characters something to do with their hands, but also offers an additional layer of indirect storytelling. In all fairness, the inclusion of the coffee pot element is just slightly heavy-handed, but the edits are well executed and add to the visual dynamics of the film. In fact, the only element of BOILING POINT that distinctly bothers me is a stylistic choice. The flashback scenes are a bit too jarring with the strobe effect, offering nothing to enhance their presence.
About halfway through BOILING POINT, we begin to realize what’s really happening, as the tension increases and the tables begin to turn out of kilter. The film evolves into a revenge story, at moments feeling the slightest bit rushed. We’ve seen this story told before, the suspenseful investigation of a crime that leads down an unexpected path, but BOILING POINT adds a fresh twist to the twist, one that adds merit to the filmmakers choice of popular genre.
If I may indulge myself, I found myself picturing a simmered down Vinnie Jones as the P.I. during a second viewing of BOILING POINT. This is a positive image, but I found myself picturing Seann William Scott as Paul Connors. This, if I were to make assumptions, was not the intent, but that’s merely my impression. In any case, the film works on a fundamental level, it entertains and holds the viewer’s attention, so long as the viewer has an open mind to the truth that all films need not be glamorous Hollywood productions and most worthwhile films are not.
Check out Metronome Productions’ website for more information and other projects.