Possible spoilers ahead!
By now many people have probably forgotten about the movie “Burnt.” Critics hated the movie, and audiences paid it little attention when it opened last October. Even though the movie flopped and critics weren’t kind to it, I like the cast so last weekend I decided to watch the movie and decide for myself.
The film stars Bradley Cooper as Adam Jones, a two-star Michelin chef who has spent the last couple of years getting clean and chucking oysters in New Orleans. A couple pf years earlier, he all but destroyed his career as a Parisian chef with his drug use and reckless behavior in the workplace.
However, after getting his act together, Adam is ready to go for that coveted third Michelin star and intends to do so by starting over in London, with the help of his old acquaintance (and the closest thing he has to a friend), maître d’ Tony (Daniel Brühl). Adam’s next step is to assemble a kitchen crew that includes promising up and comers like Chef Helene (Sienna Miller), along with a pair of his former coworkers: Chef Michel (Omar Sy), and Chef Max (Riccardo Scamarcio), who’s fresh out of prison.
But as the pressure mounts and Adam is faced with both new challenges as well as lingering issues from his drug past, even Adam begins to wonder if he will ever be able to reclaim his former glory.
I have no idea why “Burnt” got savaged by critics last Fall. I found the movie to be an engaging and compelling piece of storytelling. This movie examined the creative, the nerve-wracking and the extreme demands that probably every chef faces at some point in their career.
My wifey and I like watching a lot of cooking shows, but I never gave a thought of how a Chef’s life affects those around him. Not just his or her family, but also the people the Chef works with, and the people dining at the restaurant. “Burnt” showed me a new area of the cooking world I’d never thought about.
Now, that’s not too say “Burnt” doesn’t have any problems. it does. The movie has too many subplots and characters than it should considering how short the movie is. It’s possible that a lot of character development was left on the cutting room floor, which results in a number of plot threads that aren’t fully realized, for example: when Chef Michel (Omar Sy) turns on Bradley Cooper, it comes out of left field because for the first hour plus of the movie he’s been a faithful member of the kitchen, even giving advice to Adam. Sure, we know the two men had a huge problem in the past, but it still didn’t make sense to have him change attitude the way he did.
Bradley Cooper as Adam Jones is almost Gordon Ramsey like in the movie. He even has a memorable scene where he tears down his fellow chefs for anything and everything. Cooper delivers a solid performance here, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t think this character would have worked. Meanwhile Sienna Miller did a fine job playing the strong-willed Chef Helene, and her on-screen chemistry with Cooper is just as good here as it was in “American Sniper.”
Sadly, actors Daniel Brühl (“Rush”) and Omar Sy (“Jurassic World”), just aren’t given enough time to give us fully realized characters. This sort of thing keeps happening to Bruhl, so whoever his manager is need to go. “Brunt” also features Emma Thompson as Adam’s therapist, Dr. Rosshilde, and a cameo by Alicia Vikander as ex-girlfriend and daughter of his mentor.
In the end, “Burnt” fails short when it comes to character development, but rises to the challenge when bringing the world of professional chefs to cinematic life. If you love cooking or just love watching the Food Network, then Burnt is worth a look on a rainy day.
“Burnt” final score: 7