Burnt tells the story of Adam Jones, a Chef who destroyed his career with drugs and diva behaviour. He cleans up and returns to London, determined to redeem himself by spearheading a top restaurant to gain three Michelin stars.
Bradley Cooper’s Adam Jones hardly has the intensity to make an intimidating head chef, although he strives to be one of the best in his field and others clearly respect him for it. Adam, as a character, doesn’t make us want to care for him or want to be involved in his journey. Anti-hero’s can be interesting and can helm a film – Christian Bale in American Psycho; Edward Norton in American History X; and much of Kevin Spacey’s work (House of Cards; The Usual Suspects) in which he portrays an anti-hero character in a major or leading role. We get that Adam is a miserable and awful human being who wants to make “orgasmic” dishes and wants to earn his third Michelin star but is hindered by his past as he recovers from his alcohol and drug abuse, but other then this, there’s no depth to the character and there’s no desire to follow him through the film. He’s very much a static character that doesn’t grow or change. The weak script hardly gave anything for Cooper to play off and because of the weak script, the supporting characters suffer considerably.
As for Daniel Bruhl’s Tony, there was no indication that he was gay apart from two small indications, in which he was miserably hitting on his co-star’s character, and when he shared a brief and friendly kiss with Cooper. There should be more of an indication of the character’s sexuality so it’s not so ambiguous otherwise the audience will be lead to believe the cast of characters to be straight.
Adam Jones’ relationship with Helene (Sienna Miller) is problematic from the beginning as she’s even less of a character than Tony and Adam and more of an object for Adam to unleash his anger upon. It was almost uncomfortable to watch, especially in one scene in particular, Adam mentally abuse Helene and shake her about physically. It’s a surprise she even wanted to come back, despite having a better offer, and no one intervened. Is the rest of the kitchen really that afraid of Adam that they wouldn’t want to defend Helene’s character? Even those who have known Adam for many years?
With the cameo’s the film provides, the actors and actress’ that provide these cameos’ hardly are able to give their character’s life.
Although it was good to see Cooper making use of his fluent knowledge of the French language, the film fell short of pulling the audience into it’s world and taking us on a journey. It’s watchable, but maybe something destined for a watch upon its release on DVD.