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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Burnt 2015 * * * 1/2 Stars

BurntDirector: John Wells
Year: 2015
Rated R
Rating: * * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Jamie Dornan

Burnt (my latest review) is well done. There I said it. Let's get all the puns out of the way shall we. With fast cutting that will make your head spin, close-ups of food that will cause your mouth to water (even though I noshed right before a viewing, I still had a hearty appetite), and a showcase for what I believe to be the best performance of Bradley Cooper's career, this 2015 release is only the third foodie flick I've seen. No Reservations and Chef are the other two and they're mere child's play in comparison.

At times overdramatic as well as borderline predictable, Burnt is nevertheless, highly effectual. This is due to the speedy direction of John Wells and an enormous attention to detail. You wanna see the distance measured between forks on a table setting? Oh you'll get that. You want to witness cooks being unsanitary by putting their hands in people's food for taste testings? You'll get that too. You wanna see a culinary staff clean the bejesus out of a kitchen (by scrubbing tables till their hands fall off)? You'll get that as well. Finally, do you have a taste for noticing lead Bradley Cooper making an employee apologize to a piece of fish (for not cooking it well enough)? That happens about a half hour in. Ultimately, Burnt is the be-all, end-all of restaurateur pics. Along with its eccentricities baited towards a dinner service, the eateries featured here are so sterile and white walled, it's as if Chili's, T.G.I. Fridays, and Ruth's Chris Steak House never even existed.

Shot at a whirlwind running time of just over 100 minutes, Burnt registers former drug addict/cooking aficionado, Adam Jones (Cooper). He lost a restaurant years ago due to some messed up behavior (he also planted rats in another chef's sit down spot while calling the health inspector at the same time). After punishing himself by shucking oysters back in the states (1,000,000 to be exact), Jones then ventures to Europe once again, this time clean and sober. He needs to get a crew together for a comeback tour. He enlists his former head waiter (Daniel Bruhl as Tony), an up-and-coming female cook (Sienna Miller as Helene), a distant rival cook (French actor Omar Sy as Michel), and a paroled criminal (Riccardo Scamarcio as Max) to open up a London hotbed with his name on the title. Bradley Cooper who's in pretty much everything these days, is all will as Jones. With a cocksure way about him, various enemies, and very little in pocket change, his Adam is still able to get the whole world on his side. Jones doesn't like people, he doesn't normally count on them, and he's kind of an a-hole. His heightened intelligence about food though turns the beat around (this includes his acquaintances who despise him). The first hour of the film displays this notion and it's the strongest section. Burnt unfortunately starts to bog down towards the end but everything that happened past tense, washes away the shortcomings.

Image result for burnt movie scenesAll in all, the look of this vehicle is slick and unblemished. The screenplay by Steven Knight (he wrote and directed 2013's Locke) is juicy in that it deals with themes of anger, absolution, irony, and alienation. In terms of casting, Bradley Cooper really brings to life the persona of an unsound, head chef (this is based on all the Food Network shows I tend to watch). The role of Adam Jones really caters to his fast-talking, manneristic style of delivering lines. About a quarter of the way in, this messy character study acknowledges that Jones is striving to get his third Michelin Star (the mark of excellence given to only a few European eating establishments). Heck, I'll just bite and give Burnt about three and a half of them. Bon appetit!

Written by Jesse Burleson

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