Last year audiences were treated to one of the best movies about a chef ever, in the form of Chef. It was fun, dramatic, and above all just a really good film. Last year we also got to see The Hundred-Foot Journey, another great film about food and cooking. When the trailer for Burnt was released, it was hard to watch it and not think of not just these, but every other cooking movie ever made, and it was hard to be excited when we had two great entries in the genre last year. Something else that put a dampener on my expectations was American Sniper, a film I openly hated, and having the two leads from that, Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller reunite was another reason for me to not look forward to this.
Burnt is the story of Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper), who had it all when he was young, but through a life of addiction and excess managed to lose everything, and make some powerful enemies. After working through a self imposed punishment, he travels to London where he attempts to get his career back on track, in the hopes of being awarded three Michelin stars.
This film opens very strong. Without wanting to ruin it for anybody, as it was a wonderful surprise for me, finding out what his punishment was, and seeing him work through it was a nice moment. The best part is, the film stays consistently good from there. There’s a great section of the movie where he’s gathering other talented chefs to work in his kitchen, and it works as well as any action or sports film where the leader is hand picking a team, even though it shouldn’t.
This is largely due to the strength of the cast. While yes, I didn’t think Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller had good chemistry in American Sniper, here they were both excellent, especially Cooper who I feel did career best work. The supporting cast were also great, especially Daniel Brühl and Omar Sy, who added some European flavour (pun intended) to a film that needed it, and also Emma Thompson, who yes, is in this film.
Something else I really appreciated about Burnt was the way London was portrayed. Having lived in London my whole life, I often don’t like the unrealistic way the city is represented (I’m looking at you SPECTRE), but here it didn’t cross my mind once.
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