Movie review: ‘Burnt’ won’t satisfy discerning moviegoers
* * (C)
Directed By John Wells
Starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Bruhl, Emma Thompson, Matthew Rhys, Alicia Vikander, Uma Thurman
Rated R, Drama, Comedy, 101 minutes
In “Burnt,” Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) is a disgraced American chef, having sabotaged his opportunity to become the culinary toast of Paris due to his bad temper and drug abuse.
Hoping to make a comeback after two years of shucking oysters in New Orleans, Jones travels to London, where a friend (Daniel Bruhl) finances the chef’s second attempt to create an “it” restaurant.
The film’s few interesting moments center around the covert methodology used by the those who rate restaurants and assign their all-important Michelin stars. Jones wants nothing more than to win Michelin’s three-star top rating — an ambition that nearly sends him over an emotional and professional cliff.
Having nearly driven away his only female, and most talented, chef Helene (Sienna Miller), the film proceeds to rehabilitate Adam by chronicling the way in which the pair come to mutually respect, perhaps even love, one another.
Meanwhile, we’re shown the latest trends in cooking, such as the low-temperature poaching of seafood and meat in plastic bags and how dishes are formed by stacking two small rectangles of the desired protein on a few veggies and adding stem-like garnishes in the center. This may qualify as food art to some, but for the rest of us, few items appear appetizing. Crowded, sterile decor is all the rage in trendy restaurants but is equally unappealing.
Behind the scenes, a cacophony of dish-crashing, food-trashing and profanity sound throughout Jones’s adversarial kitchen. Having no desire to eat there and deriving little pleasure from watching Jones and staff ply their trade, what remains is a fine representation of superficial characters. The film, largely occurring in posh establishments with up-to-the-minute kitchens, may look good enough but doesn’t constitute a world we’d like to sink our teeth into. Most of all, we regret not having spent our movie dollars on a good dinner instead.