“Burnt” serves up a remarkable menu of high-stakes tension, bite-sized story twists, and a generous portion of vanity from Cooper’s white chef coat persona thrown in for good measure.
– Patrick King, REEL BRIEF
In 1900, the first publication of the Michelin Guide was printed for French motorists by two brothers from the tire manufacturer. Michelin provided these maps with repair locations to help grow the budding car industry in France and increase tire sales. By 1926, the Michelin Guide became so successful it expanded into the grading of hotels and fine dining establishments using a 3-star rating system.
Today, earning a rare Michelin star annotates a restaurant’s rise to the top of the culinary world. And to achieve a second star? Well, a sensationalized Hollywood wants us to believe that an unquenchable thirst would materialize to attain the three-peat—a feat Bradley Cooper’s laser-focused character (Chef Adam Jones) attempts in “Burnt”.
Teaming up with his “American Sniper” costar Sienna Miller, Cooper dishes out platefuls of nasty expletives and perfectly prepared meals at an up-scale London hotspot. In the quest for his third Michelin star seal of approval, Cooper must recruit, negotiate and mastermind a kitchen to his demanding taste and tempo.
“Burnt” serves up a remarkable menu of high-stakes tension, bite-sized story twists, and a generous portion of vanity from Cooper’s white chef coat persona thrown in for good measure. The film offers a riveting presentation into the zero-fail endeavors assigned to only the world’s finest restaurants and the chefs who orchestrate them.
Between Cooper’s meltdowns and everyone’s well-placed concern over a no-notice visit from the Michelin judges, “Burnt” delicately breaks down the fine dining experience for food critics and viewers; menu, service and atmosphere. Illustrating the vital combo of commitment, perfection and teamwork necessary to be the best, the kitchen scenes in “Burnt” are without a doubt the most rewarding and powerful to watch.
Outside of the kitchen drama, “Burnt” takes much longer to pre-heat and feels undercooked in parts. In fact, at first it appears that director John Wells may have skipped a few ingredients in the cooking instructions for character development. It becomes quite apparent, however, that Wells cleverly presents only small portions of background at a time to the audience—similar to the way a 7-course meal is rolled out to diners. In the end, once Cooper’s past history of dots are connected by the audience, a fulfilling story satisfies our film appetite. Is it enough to secure a 3rd Michelin star? I’ll let you be the judge.
“Burnt” is rated R for language throughout. Its running time is 1 hour and 40 minutes.
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