Much has been said about Bradley Cooper’s so-called “flop” film. Critics have argued that the actor is miscast, while calling the script overtly-macho and half-baked (pun-intended). Well here’s an unexpected twist: I loved everything about Burnt.
The story of a chef and recovering drug addict on his quest to acquire a third Michelin star, Burnt stars Bradley Cooper in the title role – and it’s a divisive performance to be sure. His character Adam Jones is far from likeable – he’s unhinged, volatile, and downright despicable at times. And yet, Cooper supplies Jones with the right dose of raw humanity that still makes you root for him in spite of his aggressive attitude (think Gordon Ramsay – who also produced the film).
As Alex’s brilliant sous chef Helen, Sienna Miller contrasts Cooper with bucketloads of likeability. The two co-starred together in American Sniper earlier this year, and their chemistry returns in spades in this culinary adventure. The film’s supporting cast is also an impressive one, with Uma Thurman, Matthew Rhys and Alicia Vikander appearing in minor supporting roles. If anything, the film could have benefited from giving these actors (particularly the ladies) more to do.
Burnt is also notable for really opening my eyes to the utter chaos that happens within the confines of restaurant kitchens. Those set-pieces did an inspired job of turning up the tension while dialling up Adam’s intensity to enormous degrees. Suffice to say, kitchen work is a bonafide battlefield in its own right.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t praise Burnt’s cinematography. Adriano Goldman’s camera skilfully captures Adam’s mouthwatering dishes through extreme close-ups and nifty angles bursting with color. Just be sure to eat before watching the film, or you might find yourself drooling on the spot.
An absorbing and captivating journey into the inner world of fine dining, and one highly unpredictable chef. It might not be for everyone, but it’s well worth a look.