Director John Wells and star Bradley Cooper bring the intense speed of high cuisine to the big screen with Burnt, which is both a love letter to our relationship with dining, and the dissection of one man’s burning desire to be the best.
When superstar chef Adam Jones’ erratic behaviour and drug use leads him to lose his restaurant, he sets out to rebuild his life and career in London with the hope that he can return to Paris in order to open a new restaurant that will gain three Michelin stars. Here’s five reasons to watch Burnt.
5. Rhythm and tempo of the kitchen
Director John Wells imbues Burnt with a methodical and metronomic rhythm that matches head chef Adam Jones’ speed in both the kitchen and life. Shots move quickly, but with a grace and fluidity that will pull the audience further into the story. The film’s rhythm and quick pace is also matched by cinematographer Adriano Goldman’s beautiful close-up shots of the works of culinary art that Jones creates, as well as the constantly moving Steadicam shots that capture the fury of the kitchen.
4. International flavours
Set in the cosmopolitan city of London, Burnt features a stunningly talented international cast that heighten the film’s atmosphere, just as eclectic ingredients brings out the flavour of any meal. German actor Daniel Bruhl is terrific as Jones’ financial backer and babysitter Tony, while Omar Sy provides a calm and centered voice as Jones’ former college Michel. Matthew Rhys offers up plenty of adversarial moments as Jones’ culinary nemesis Reece, and Emma Thompson is outstanding as no-nonsense psychiatrist Dr. Rosshilde, who isn’t going to take any of Jones’ excuses in his quest to be the best.
3. A perfect recipe from Steven Knight
Lauded screenwriter Steven Knight (Eastern Promises, Dirty Pretty Things) has written a beautifully paced screenplay that is more character study than direct narrative. While Jones is the centre of the film, Knight’s talents also allows every supporting character within the piece to enjoy a full arc, in both their own narrative journey, and how they relate back to Jones.
2. Sienna Miller: stepping up to the plate
In the key supporting role of Helene, a young female sous chef ‘who doesn’t know how good she is’, Sienna Miller wonderfully compliments Bradley Cooper’s performance, and more often than not steals each scene. Helene brings a beautiful real world touch to Burnt, as a single mother who has no desire to be pulled into Jones’ obsession with culinary perfection. But when Adam creates a situation where he is her only option, Helene flourishes under the pressure and rises to become his equal.
1. Adam Jones: a man with everything to lose
Despite every brilliant aspect that makes Burnt such a great watch, the film really does belong to lead actor Bradley Cooper. His frenzied, obsessive and explosive performance as two star Michelin star chef Adam Jones is compelling to watch, and is nothing short of Oscar-worthy. Jones is a character that audiences won’t soon forget, and is again a testament to the extraordinary range and talent that Cooper carries as a thespian.
Image source: Roadshow Films.