Review: Burnt

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After 6 long weeks of trying to pretend to be on top of my degree, reading week was finally here. And that means it was time to make use of my unlimited cinema card.

Which film was on the top of my cinematic to-do-list? Well, certainly not Burnt. I was keen to see one of my personal favourite actors Joseph Gordon Levitt in ‘The Walk’ but it had been taken off my local cinema listings slightly sooner than most usually are. My next preference would probably have been ‘He Named Me Malala’ but having already dragged my boyfriend to ‘The Suffragette’ on our last cinema trip, I thought I would give him a break from my pursuit of educating him on the topic of women’s rights and go for something  a little more lighthearted – so that’s how we arrived at Burnt.

Bradley Cooper plays the part of chef-in-distress Adam Jones, who lost his culinary reputation due to relentless substance abuse whilst working at a restaurant in Paris.

When two French drug dealers pull up in their land rover and punch Cooper in the face, it was almost laughable. I struggled to convince myself that  clean-cut Cooper,  who played a white talented chef, with a passion for French cuisine was a rough and ready addict on the streets of Clichy-sous-Bois. The actor spoke of his prior drug addiction as if just reeling off his account of his travels in Paris. The emotional topic simply became a back-drop for the new plot which picks up three years later, where Jones begins the pursuit of his ambition – obtaining a three star rating in the Michelin Guide for his new London restaurant.

Cooper can definitely work intense, but his impersonation of the sweary-chef-bully was tired. He had clearly watched hours of Gordon Ramsey in preparation for the role, but he did play the chef-bully cliché convincingly.

Sienna Miller, who plays Cooper’s romantic interest, was definitely the most interesting and in fact the only character other than Cooper to have much depth. Miller plays young-mum Helene who begins the film as an old rival of the protagonist, yet eventually learns to work with him, and unsurprisingly the two become involved with one another. She’s the only really likeable character in the film, but her romantic involvement with Adam wasn’t one I was rooting for after he manipulated her into working for him by getting her fired from her current job.

Burnt definitely has a good line-up in terms of its cast – but it seems somewhat wasted. Emma Thompson plays the stereotypical therapist airily spouting ‘deep’ thought-provoking statements in her quirky outfits. The ‘Sense and Sensibility’ actress certainly shines more in other roles.

The film does begin to question what would have happened if Cooper didn’t reach his life-long goal of attaining his three Michelin stars, provoking deeper thought about what happens in life in general when one is unable to achieve what they set out to. But the plot is unsurprising, in that the three stars are inevitably achieved. I can’t help thinking that the film would be far more interesting if Adam’s  ex-girlfriend didn’t pay off all his drug debts, and it was left to him to fight off the land-rover-drug-lords and the despair of his failed attempt to achieve his life-long dream. But that’s just me.

Overall, the film is an entertaining watch – and a good choice if you’re in the mood for a light-hearted romantic film with a more interesting theme. But if you’re after something more, this won’t leave you thinking about the picture after you’ve finished watching, and definitely isn’t one you’ll be desperate to re-watch.

Photo: Weinstein Company

One thought on “Review: Burnt

  1. Hi Jessica, I appreciate most of your review apart from one point in terms of Adam’s drug debt with maffias. The point I comprehended was he gained the habbit of substance abuse under the influence of his ex-girlfriend and she felt somehow responsible for jeopardizing Adam’s career. Paying off his ex-boyfriend’s debt was a redemption for her and then she could move on with her own life. The director is definitely a perfectionist. What do you think? Thus his characters are created perefectly with appropriate attitudes and combined together into a dish with utterly sophiscated taste. The director himself seems to have abssesive compulsive disorder. What do you think? But it still worth to watch cos it is a Weinstein movie!

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