BURNT – REVIEW

If 2007’s Ratatouille didn’t quite satisfy your cravings for a culinary movie about a rat that is seeking redemption in the kitchen, Burnt might be the film for you. If not, well it’s got Bradley Cooper in it, so there’s always that. The burning (or burnt?) question – So, is it any good?

YES

While it’s not the best film of the year and certainly not in Oscar contention as the rumour mill once said, it’s easily watchable and the food-porn alone is worth a look. It’s beautifully shot and while you probably won’t actually be able to tell what’s in the food, it looks amazing.

Bradley Cooper plays Adam Jones, a once up-and-coming star in the culinary world who, quite frankly, is a bit of a dick. After gaining two Michelin Stars, he loses everything after abusing a lot of drugs and running himself up a huge debt in the process (cue two heavies who regularly shake him down for cash). We’re introduced to him after he has dried out, at the end of his quest to shuck a million oysters (as some kind of penance?), after which he plans on returning to London, in a blaze of glory to assemble the A-team and go for a third Michelin Star.

Burnt Screen Grab 1

The character development here is stereotypically bad boy and as he walks out of the oyster bar, having shucked his millionth oyster, you see that not too much has changed with his sobriety, Adam is still a dick.

He manages to beg, borrow and steal to assemble his team, and secure a new restaurant with the help of his trusty old maître d’, Tony (Daniel Brühl) who after a bit of manipulation, gives his fine-dining establishment to the washed up hack who fucked him over several years prior (with several super-annoying references to “what happened in Paris”). We have Michel (Omar Sy), a sous chef who by all accounts had his life ruined by Adam with more references to Paris but who is willing to let bygones be bygones if he can get in on the new venture. Ex-con Max (Riccardo Scamarcio) gets picked up on his way out of prison- his perfectionism in the kitchen rivals Adam’s and then there’s the token female slash love interest, Helene (Sienna Miller), a strong willed, single mother, just trying to do right by her daughter. Nervous but talented newcomer, David (Sam Keely) rounds off the team.

Burnt Screen Grab 2

A cast of supporting characters (a three Michelin starred rival, a therapist and a mysterious ex, who is the daughter of Adam’s mentor) holds up the film without getting in the way and often you’re left thinking that these are more ingredients to make the movie work than people.

Where this movie falls over though is in it’s dialogue – while we love a screaming mentally unwell Bradley Cooper character delivering one liners like “Apologise to the turbot, because it died in vain”, it’s the clichéd fluff that’s the real problem. Somehow you just don’t believe that “I want to make food that makes people stop eating” is a line that any chef anywhere has ever uttered.

That being said, the film never sets out to be anything more than it is and you will happily go along with Adam’s ride on the road to redemption if you don’t think about it too much.

A quick note: this one is definitely not one to see on an empty stomach and popcorn just won’t cut it.

BURNT is in cinemas October 22nd.

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