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BURNT (review)


Written by Steven Knight / Directed by John Wells / Starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller and Daniel Brühl

Who doesn’t love a film about food? I remember watching JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI and never looking at a peace of fish on rice in the same way every again. Similarly, the kitchen cutaways in the 2011 film THE TRIP were a delectable distraction from the chaotic comedy at hand. Just how far can food go though? In 2015, can beautifully shot and delicious looking appetizers do anything to elevate the quality of a film? This is what I was left wondering after watching the latest Bradley Cooper film BURNT.

Cooper stars as Adam Jones (creative name, huh?), celebrity chef with two Michelin stars. On the road to recovery from a drug and alcohol addiction, Jones puts himself on the quest to earn the legendary three Michelin star rating. After traveling to Paris, Jones rounds up the best in the business, including old friend and Maître D’ extraordinaire, Tony (Daniel Brühl) and chefs Helene and Michel (Sienna Miller and Omar Sy). With the opening of Adam Jones at the Langham, Jones is surprised to find out that running a three Michelin star earning restaurant is not as easy as he thought it would be.

Director John Wells is Adam Jones’ biggest enemy. While he has a knack for visuals, Wells once again seems unable to control his actors. In 2013 Wells let Meryl Streep run rampant with her super loud and over-the-top performance in AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY; similar issues arise in BURNT. It seems as if Cooper locked himself in his living room and watched Kitchen Nightmares for a week before going into production, because his Gordon Ramsay impersonation is a little too obvious. One bit in the film has him forcing a chef to taste his overcooked scallop, a sin I frequently remember Ramsay committing during my short-lived reality TV phase.

While Cooper is a little unrestrained, his surrounding ensemble is fantastic. In addition to the previously mentioned actors, the film also stars Emma Thompson, Matthew Rhys, Uma Thurman, and Alicia Vikander; all impressive in their brief roles. Cooper is obviously having fun with the role, but it is often difficult to find any sympathy for the ruthless and unsympathetic Adam Jones.

BURNT can be an entertaining film all the same. While fun, the film just reeks of missed opportunities. What could have been an especially great film unfortunately comes out pretty over cooked.

3 sheep

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