Bradley Cooper is Adam Jones in “Burnt,” a chef who became famous in Paris for his talent before hitting hard times as an alcoholic and drug addict. The movie begins, though, with Jones being a sober, more humble version of himself, ready to return to the culinary world.
To do so, Jones goes to London, and through some of his connections (although they are reluctant) opens a new restaurant with the hope of attaining the coveted third Michelin Star.
“Burnt” is one of the more disappointing films to hit theaters in 2015. Despite having a talented cast and experienced director much of the film is just unmemorable because of how little depth it has and how predictable it becomes.
The main reason for this is by the start of the film, the character Jones has already fully recovered from his alcoholism and his addiction. On top of that, he’s still a super talented chef and is able to open a new restaurant relatively easy.
What this means is there’s very little conflict other than a guy trying to win an award.
Over the course of Jone’s character arc, which the film focused on, nothing really changes.
Compare this, for example, to 2014’s “Chef” starring Jon Favreau. That film also featured a chef meeting hard times, but the difference is it showed him overcoming those challenges and reinventing himself.
There is a subplot about Jones owing money to some drug dealers in the film, but much of this aspect takes place off screen and it’s almost an after thought during much of the run time.
This leads to the character Jones being rather uninteresting, despite Cooper giving a really solid performance. Cooper plays the part right and has some well done emotional sequences. Much of the dialogue is fine, too.
The supporting cast was is also serviceable, but the movie definitely could have expanded some of them. Bruhl is fine as the one financing Jones’ restaurant and Miller is good as sous chef Helene. The only issue is they attempted a romance between Helene and Jones which was really unnecessary.
In terms of expanding characters, it was needed for some of the chefs who were introduced early but disappear in the later scenes. Jones meets one of his friends coming out of prison and another young, talented cook and makes them both chefs, but they become an after thought by the film’s third act.
The filmmaking was a bit hit or miss. There are some exciting kitchen scenes, but the film was lacking in style. Referencing “Chef” again and also last year’s “The Hundred Foot Journey” there was a sense of style there, a bit of flair from the surroundings. “Burnt” on the other hand appears a bit bland.
Hopes were high for “Burnt,” but unfortunately it just doesn’t live up. It offers some nice performances and has a few exciting moments but it’s hard to get engaged when the story is so by the books. High 2 out of 5.