Burnt – a movie review by Roz Tarszisz

October 21, 2015 by Roz Tarszisz
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Serious chefs have lent their skills and advice to this outing from director John Wells (Love and Mercy).

Brett Graham , Gordon Ramsay and  Marcus Wareing are listed on the credits.  The finished plates of food placed on the kitchen pass certainly look like works of art created by a master.

Bradley Cooper stars and has a better hairdo than he sported in American Hustle. (Who can forget him in perming rollers?).  He plays Adam Jones, former enfant terrible, an American chef who earned two Michelin stars in Paris and then lost everything.

We meet him as he is finishing what he terms his “penance” – living off the grid, shucking oysters in New Orleans.  After opening his one millionth bivalve, he heads for London.

He has been a bad boy  – always the best kind – and done some reprehensible things but is now clean of drugs and alcohol. It’s over two years since he trashed himself and the Parisian restaurant where he gained the world-famous food rating and is a changed man.

His mission is to get himself installed in another restaurant and aim for three Michelin stars. He calls in favours, rounds up compadres, finds new staff and soon heads a sparkling new restaurant.  Visiting an old colleague, Chef Reece (Matthew Rhys) who creates top food in what looks like a sterile laboratory, he bags Reece publicly – so he’s not totally reformed –  and the scene is set for a clash of egos and reputations.

There’s unfinished business from Adam’s previous life – French drug dealers demanding money, his previous girlfriend Ann Marie (Alicia Vikander)and friends whose lives he ruined such as Michel (Omar Sy).  Turning his own life around was never going to be easy.

The supporting cast is good with Sienna Miller as Helene, a sous-chef who understands the new style food required and Daniel Bruhl as Tony, who, somewhat reluctantly, gives Adam his  kitchen.  Emma Thompson plays a doctor who takes blood from Adam weekly – to check he remains sober and clean.  She manages to impart some pithy wisdom that he doesn’t always want to hear.   Uma Thurman has a small role as a food critic.

Cooper is charismatic as a man driven to create perfection and a sensual experience for diners.   While there are a few improbabilities with the storyline, it’s a good yarn and look at a closed and somewhat claustrophobic world.   It covers different ground from other recent cheffy tales  –No Reservations and Chef  – although, like them, an appealing child is involved.  The music, with a bit of a rock beat, suits the story.

Foodies will enjoy this but it’s more about a man turning his life around.

3/5  100mins  2015  Out October 22  Rated M

Starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Bruhl, Omar Sy, Matthew Rhys

Directed by John Wells

Screenplay by Steven Knight   Written by Michael Kalesniko

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