I really wanted to be able to taste Burnt, the latest offering from John Wells (August: Osage County, The Company Men), but ultimately its plot was too watered-down.
Adam Jones (Cooper) is a two-Michelin-starred chef who destroyed his career with drugs and diva behavior. He cleans up and returns to London, determined to redeem himself by spearheading a top restaurant that can gain three Michelin stars.
Unwillingly assisted by the talented yet thus far under-rated Helene (a likeable Miller), and potentially the last restaurant head likely to give him a chance (Daniel Bruhl in spectacular form as Tony), Jones’ redemption story is peppered with dramatic cliches such as a long-lost arch enemy Chef Reece (Matthew Rhys), an exotic dark-haired beauty of an ex-lover and menacing drug money thugs in leather jackets and a black jeep.
The authentic kitchen atmosphere and excellent cast can’t save the movie from drowning in its own predictability, and whilst Bradley Cooper applies his best acting chops, as always, to the character of Adam Jones, there is ultimately too little meat on the bone to provide the audience with any substance. To say that Cooper is incapable of making a character likeable should give you a fairly clear idea of the quality of the writing.
The food shots are stunning but far too brief and lacking in explanation – pretty on the surface but with nothing to induce a genuine craving, which was a real missed opportunity. While Burnt will do for a moderately entertaining Sunday afternoon flick fest, don’t allow the quality cast and beautiful visuals to trick you into thinking it is a more credible effort than it actually is. Strictly snack sized.