Burnt offers a new take on the tortured artist redemption tale in that in this film, said person is a world class chef who’s burned more than just his share of food.
There’s plenty of food porn to be gazed upon, drooled over and generally appreciated in this film that opens Friday (Oct. 30). And its director John Wells surely wants the same to happen for his film. Unfortunately, that’s not likely to be the case.
While Burnt has its tasty moments, it also possesses more than a few clichés as it brings to a simmer the tale of an American chef whose skills once burned bright in the City of Lights only to eventually fade away into relative obscurity.
In fact, when Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) returns to Europe to make his grand re-entry into the fine dining industry, the common refrain that comes from his former acquaintances boils down to “aren’t you dead yet?”
No Adam isn’t dead. He, in fact, is a man on a mission. A recovering addict, malcontent and general rogue, he’s on a mission to make amends the only way he knows how – by cooking.
He’s a culinary prodigy. He knows it. His friends know it. His competition knows it and when he lands in Europe he promptly talks his best friend Tony (Daniel Bruhl) into opening his wallet and backing his latest venture.
He lands the chefs he wants with one goal in mind – earning a Michelin Star, the culinary arts’ holy grail. He owns two already. But he’s obsessed with that third one to the point of tempting all of his demons into returning to his life.
It’s those moments that Burnt teeters toward cliché taking on the aura of a made-for-TV flick. Thankfully Wells, who honed his skills on television series such as ER and The West Wing, knows when to pull things back and add a twist that saves a film with a different take on a familiar story.
He also doesn’t hurt that he has a talented cast. Cooper and Bruhl have plenty of chemistry together as friends and Sienna Miller adds plenty as Jones’ protégé.
It’s far from perfect, but Burnt is tasty enough to make it worth a night out.
Director: John Wells
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Daniel Bruhl, Sienna Miller
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Rated: R for language throughout
Running time: 100 minutes
Check for theaters and showtimes at Atlas Cinemas, Cleveland Cinemas, Fandango.com and MovieTickets.com