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Our own Elodie Cure has harsh words for Burnt in this exclusive ComiConverse film review.
The food looks savory and fresh in Burnt, but the rest of the film is tasteless.
Director John Wells (The Company Men, Fraud Casebook) penetrates the competitive world of high-end cooking, but fails to find the perfect recipe to conquer his audience despite a flawless cast.
Bradley Cooper (American Sniper, Silver linings) plays Adam Jones, a two-star Michelin chef who ruined his life with drugs, alcohol and women and ended up on the streets of Paris. After fleeing away to New-Orleans for a while, he is now back on track in London to seek redemption and reclaim his culinary stature.
To do so, Jones approaches a former associate, Tony played by Daniel Bruhl (Rush, Inglorious Bastards) who reluctantly agrees to hand over his restaurant on one condition: Adam has to have regular drug tests and counselling with Dr. Rosshilde (Emma Thompson).
The next step for Adam is to form his team. That includes a few friends from his old days — Max (Riccardo Scamarcio) who just got out of jail, a former French restaurateur, Michel (Omar Sy) — as well as some new faces, such as David (Sam Keeley), a young and arrogant cook and single-mother, Helene, portrayed by Sienna Miller, (American Sniper, Factory Girl) who struggles to make ends meet.
We are then taken through a series of frenetic kitchen scenes in which orders are shouted and pans sizzle, as well as Adam’s incessant pursuit of the third Michelin star which seems more important to Adam than his own friends and team. This is where Burnt has gone seriously wrong.
The film is totally and uniquely focused on the erratic Adam, who is as dislikable as an overcooked gratin. The kitchen-tyrant character may have a fair number of real-life counterparts, but it has become a tiresome cliché and we all know it.
The other individuals on the team develop a long-lasting and baffling fascination for Adam. They support him on every occasions despite his disrespectful and jerky attitude towards them.
Although classified as a comedy, Burnt is more a drama than a film that will make you laugh. Even though Adam is a one of the most well-known and talented chefs of his generation, he is self-destructive and haunted by the demons from his past. Nothing really amusing to take in here.
The timing of the release has no real advantage for Burnt, as this is the third film about a chef to be released within the last 18 months; not to mention the numerous television shows about cooking which have flooded the market.
Except for those who can afford to eat expensive food five nights a week, gastronomic cuisine world has become a dull topic.
I also have to warn you, the film plays a lot on French/English languages switching. It would have been a great idea if the English of the actors wasn’t as strong. What results is French language that is incomprehensible for French natives. English audiences may not catch the conflict, but French speakers will surely be appalled.
However, the good point of this film is, with no hesitation, the cast selection. Bradley Cooper brings a powerful energy to the role and proves once again that he is a brilliant actor who has made his way to the top. Most of the supporting cast is solid as well and brings a little something to the film.
Despite the presence of Mario Batali as a consultant, Burnt lacks seasoning. This entertaining film may be to your taste if you like undercooked meals and food-porn. My only advice if you decide to watch it: don’t have an empty stomach, eat beforehand.
Elodie Cure is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow her on Twitter: @Elodie_Cure
Burnt is a deceptive and untasty film.