Written by: Steven Knight, Michael Kalesniko.
Directed by: John Wells.
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Brühl.
The infamous Michelin two-star chef Adam Jones sets out to redeem himself by giving up a life of debauchery. He moves to London and assembles his own team in chase of the prestigious third star. Below is our Burnt movie review.
It all begins with an inane voiceover which never seems to return. Chef Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) is serving penance in his own terms for a life of iniquity he led in New Orleans, by shucking oysters. After his self-imposed sentence, he moves to London to head his own restaurant. A man oozing with arrogance and ambition, he sets out on a mission reminiscent of Oceans 11, to gather his own team. After much persuasion and influence of his frenemies, namely Tony (Daniel Brühl) and the savoury sous Chef Helene (Sienna Miller), they start up The Langham.
After a below par opening night at the restaurant, Adam has to swallow his ego and brew up a fresh set of ideas to prove his worth. He also has to submit to drug tests weekly, wherein he develops an interesting relationship with Dr. Rosshilde (Emma Thompson). As someone with a regretful past, he is constantly faced with issues from yester like his mentor’s death or owing drug dealers, but his quest is mainly hindered by his tyrannical reign in the kitchen.
The movie is a classic road to redemption story that takes us through the journey of a dysfunctional kitchen unit, majorly focusing on the protagonist.
Recipe For Success Or Not
The script was deemed in 2007 as one of the most promising projects but was just as easily discarded due to lack of a proper production team. So when it finally gets made, you would expect a powerhouse name for the director. John Wells (August:Osage County, The Company Men) was definitely a queer choice. But just like his previous two flicks, this one manages to keep you watching. But the style of direction seemed like a confused broth – borrowed and tiresome. A lot of that can be blamed on the writers Steven Knight and Michael Kalesniko.
What the script does well is not lay too much emphasis on Adam’s past, while effectively delivering the portrayal of it. That being said, it could just as easily be the fall in the script. The entire movie felt hurried through, while managing to make some of the scenes look glaringly slow. During a scene where Helene blames protégé chef David for messing up a dish, she exclaims that it takes a special kind of idiot to mess up such a simple dish. You can’t help but wonder at the irony of whether she could be talking about the screenplay. Even the lines didn’t seem dietary enough, what with so many clichéd ones which can be heard in the trailer itself.
On the plus side, the background score was excellent by Rob Simonsen. It went very well with the production design of the movie, which in itself was decent, but the editing failed them.
Too Many Cooks Spoil The Broth
Bradley Cooper (Hangover, American Sniper) can set any screen on fire, and over the years he has been proving that he’s not just a pretty face. But even his million-dollar smile couldn’t carry this movie entirely. He has done a great job, no doubt. But certain scenes lacked consistency. Neverthless, a superb addition to his list of versatile roles. What’s unacceptable is the extensive focus on him, which led to what was an ensemble cast, being shadowed.
When you see names like Uma Thurman (Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction) and Alicia Vikander (The man from U.N.C.L.E, Ex Machina), you expect a lot. But their roles were so minimal, it leaves you feeling confused as to why they were cast in the first place. Their characters had a lot of promise, and could have been exploited further.
Daniel Brühl (Rush, Inglorious Basterds) was a highlight of the movie. He defies expectations. It was also a relief to finally see the underrated Sienna Miller (Foxcatcher, Casanova) not play an American. She put in a stellar performance of an independent, hipster cook, but lacked chemistry with Cooper. The rest of the team pulled off decent jobs, including Omar Sy (Jurassic World, X-Men)as Michele, Ricardo Scamarcio as Max and Sam Keeley as the protégé David.
All in All
Adam Jones is the Jose Mourinho of the culinary world, a.k.a Gordon Ramsay (No! It’s not about him). He is bent on making that elusive third Michelin-star. What ensues is his psychological rehabilitation process where he’s trying to battle his own past, and his kitchen. It is definitely a movie for food lovers and Cooper fans alike. Watch it if you’re in the mood for something just to chill with, but leave all your expectations at home. Oh, and don’t forget to pick up some snacks for the show. The mouth-watering food porn scenes will most certainly leave you hungry.
B-Change Rating: 6/10