BURNT (2015)

Genre: Drama
Director: John Wells
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Omar Sy, Daniel Bruhl, Matthew Rhys, Uma Thurman, Emma Thompson, Alicia Vikander, Lily James
Runtime: 1 hr 40 mins
Rating: NC16 (Coarse Language)
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Official Website: 

Opening Day: 29 October 2015

Synopsis: Chef Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) had it all—and lost it. A two-star Michelin rockstar with the bad habits to match, the former enfant terrible of the Paris restaurant scene did everything different every time out, and only ever cared about the thrill of creating explosions of taste. To land his own kitchen and that third elusive Michelin star though, he’ll need the best of the best on his side, including the beautiful Helene (Sienna Miller). Burnt is a remarkably funny and emotional story about the love of food, the love between two people, and the power of second chances.

Movie Review:

Philadelphiaborn Bradley Cooper has come a long way since his big break in 2009. The 40 year old actor has since gone on to receive consecutive Oscar nominations with Silver Linings Playbook (2012), American Hustle (2013) and American Sniper (2014). This is on top of other acclaimed performances in dramas like Limitless (2011), The Words (2012) and The Place Beyond the Pines (2013).

This is quite a feat for a dude we knew who had a serious Hangover with his bros Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms.

That is probably why Cooper is the highlight of this food movie directed by John Wells (August: OsageCounty, The Company Men). You see, there are only so many surprises you can get from a film featuring mouthwatering scenes of delectable cuisines being prepared on screen. Think No Reservations (2007), Julie & Julia (2009) and The Hundred Foot Journey (2014) – while you can rave about the performances of the actors, the plot is always somewhat predictably feel good.

Hence, besides the delightful sequences of chefs cooking in kitchens, it is up to Cooper to keep your eyes glued to the screen with his portrayal of an up and coming chef who destroyed the earlier part of his career by indulging in drug use and womanising ways. His diva and erratic behaviour doesn’t help either (if you think the Gordon Ramsay you see on TV is anything but the truth, you may want to know that this reviewer experienced first hand how a celebrity chef harshly told off a junior chef in front of a filming crew), but he decides to clean up his ways and returns to London hoping to redeem himself by opening a new restaurant that will gain three Michelin stars.

You know how the 101 minute movie will end, but you stay seated throughout because you may never have the chance to savour dishes prepared by a celebrity chef in a Michelin star restaurant. While fine dining is not everyone’s cup of tea, this movie sure does a fine job of capturing the moments of how these menus are conceptualised and prepared, thanks to Adriano Goldman’s (Trash, The Company You Keep) cinematography.

Not much can be said about the movie’s characters from Steven Knight’s (Dirty Pretty Things, Eastern Promises) screenplay. Sienna Miller pairs up with Cooper again by playing a chef who eventually develops a romantic relationship with Cooper, Omar Sy and Matthew Rhys are one dimensional caricatures which do not have much room for development, while Uma Thurman and Emma Thompson’s roles as a food critic and therapies respectively feel like a waste of talents. It is Daniel Bruhl’s gay friend who has been nursing a long standing crush on Cooper that stands out, and even comes across as sweet when – spoiler alert – Cooper plants a kiss on Bruhl’s lips.

Otherwise, the film passes off as another food movie that serves up an average palette without engaging characters or a memorable story. While it does an okay job while you’re in the cinema, there isn’t much aftertaste after you leave the theatre. The ingredients just aren’t the best to make this movie a must watch. 

Movie Rating:

(Bradley Cooper does a fine job showing off his acting chops, but it’s not enough to spice up this otherwise predictable food movie)

Review by John Li

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