“The Chef”: the shot of a restaurateur filmed in an astonishing sequence shot

Cooking is a recurring subject in cinema and the media have never had so much fun with it. In his second film, The Chief released on Wednesday January 19, British director Philip Barantini portrays a man gripped by his stress as a restaurateur, in a one-and-a-half-hour sequence shot. Beyond the technical prowess, a breathtaking story filmed in the kitchen under tension.

Andy, a starred chef, meets up with his brigade before the shot is fired in his gourmet restaurant on the Friday before Christmas, the flagship evening of the year. The conflicts accumulate: his second is in the hot seat, influencers order four steaks, a creditor asks him to become his partner, not to mention a demanding clientele who only seeks to bring him down…

From his bicycle, portable to his ear, to the end at the foot of his stove, the camera does not leave Andy McLeod, this chef entangled between his restaurant, his broken family life, his team and impossible customers. An impressive performance by Stephen Graham inhabits the entire film, shot in conditions comparable to a theatrical performance, since the sequence shot calls for the same continuity of play, in a single take, in a shot without cuts.

Beyond the technical prowess, it is the writing that energizes the film. The dramaturgy nourishes a timed progression. The handheld camera is not destabilizing, as the tracking shots are so fluid, the frames adjusted to the millimeter to enhance the actors. We are at the heart of the action, from the hall to the kitchens, in the alley of the garbage cans, on the back of Andy who manages his restaurant and his private life. How long will he last?

"The Chief" by Philip Barantini (2022).  (UFO Distribution)

Behind the scenes of the restaurant gives rise to a lesson in humanity. The professionalism of a man confronted with his ambitions, the management of a brigade not always on time and at the level, a son to be picked up from school, and customers who only think of themselves create tension which goes into a spin, like the filming, always moving. A gift of self not perceived by others, without return, as can be the human relationships of today in an unbridled individualism, if not selfishness. The Chief refers to our personal cuisine, the choice of place is not insignificant: a menu of choice. Shocking.

The poster of "The Chief" by Philip Barantini (2022).  (UFO Distribution)

Kind : Drama
Director: Philip Barantini
Actors : Stephen Graham, Vinette Robinson, Jason Flemyng
Country : Britain
Duration : 1h34
Exit : January 19, 2021
Distributer : UFO Cast

Summary:Magic Friday”: the Friday before Christmas, the busiest evening of the year. In a gourmet restaurant in London, on the kitchen side, a few minutes from the gunshot, all the staff are boiling. But the problems accumulate around the starred chef Andy Jones and his team, in addition to the constant pressure of an ever more demanding clientele that threatens to lead the restaurant to its ruin…

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