Burnt is one of those food movies that manages to balance the story of food and the human story of redemption into an enjoyable tale.
Release Date: October 30, 2015
Writer: Steven Knight
Director: John Wells
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Emma Thompson, Daniel Bruhl, Riccardo Scamarcio, Omar Sy
Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) is a disgraced “Two Michelin” star chef. Jones has left the world he loves, the restaurant kitchen, thanks to a self-destructive downward spiral associated with the drug, women and rock n’ roll lifestyle of the cooking world. As penance, Jones exiles himself to a small Louisiana restaurant until he has shucked one million oysters.
Burnt follows the struggle back to the top of London’s culinary ladder as Jones pursues his third Michelin Star. To make his dream a reality, Jones has to visit some old demons to finance a restaurant, build a talented cooking staff and find inspiration to “cook food so good, people forget to eat.”
The search of a restaurant comes from his former business partner, Tony (Daniel Bruhl). Reminded of Jones true talent as a chef, Tony agrees to open and finance the new restaurant under the condition that Jones submit to weekly drug tests administered by psychiatrist Dr. Rosshide (Emma Thompson).
For his staff, Jones calls on Michel (Omar Sy), whom Jones has ruined his restaurant open with several rats and a call to the health department. There is also ex-convict Max (Ricardo Scamarcio) and finally, a single mother, Helene (Sienna Miller), who is an up-and-coming chef on her way to culinary heights. Did I mention she plays a woman? Do you think this will be an important fact later in the film?
First, Burnt is not only a movie about food but about the driven nature of the best chefs in the world. These chefs cannot never afford to be complacent, but must always be creating, innovating and competing against one another. This world is exciting and engaging and captured brilliantly on film. Cooper does not fake anything in this movie and was clearly advised by the best chefs to make this movie as accurate as possible.
Second, Burnt is a story of redemption. When a person reaches the lowest point in his life, what does he or she become when you take away the drugs and alcohol. In Jones, you see this struggle of a man dealing with the pressure of attaining perfection with just his sheer will. In the end, what happens to a man when his pursuit of perfection is popped like a balloon and there’s no way to put the pieces back together.
It is the story of redemption that makes Burnt the movie to watch. It is also this story that somehow manages to make the fascinating world of food take a back seat. It is hard to a human story feel real without going into the old bag of tricks of clichés. While Burnt uses several of these tricks, like the old everyone here believes in you and your old mentor wanted to you have his knife set, these tricks are perfectly spread out through the movie. Also, characters are developed well enough, that when the cliché appear, it feels right. Such as the final battle with Jones’ nemesis and former classmate Chef Reece (Matthew Rhys).
Burnt is a good movie because it takes its audience into the driven world of the world class restaurants and the crazy people who choose to be the stars in this world.