Bradley Cooper fails to cook up a storm in John Wells' feeble attempt to present the life of a celebrity chef.
Literally burnt out from start to finish, John Well’s film about the culinary arts fails to deliver just that through it’s weak performances by Bradley Cooper and his co-stars, and an unimaginative story.
The film attempts to portray the life of two Michelin-star chef Adam (Bradley Cooper), who after a conflictive past, attempts to pick up where he left off and continue his journey to earn his third star, with the help of his all-star team of cooks. The film takes place in London, showcasing aesthetically pleasing imagery of the city’s bohemian areas. It also provides some charm in the few amusing moments throughout; Adam’s description of the positive aspects of fast food and his meeting’s with his Doctor (Emma Thompson) who despite her brief appearance, displays the most genuine performance.
Despite these good points, Well’s attempts to add too many ingredients to the film, causing it to become a flavourless concoction which lacks the spice it needs to shine. The suggested relationships between the characters are extremely ambiguous throughout, particularly that of Helene (Sienna Miller) and Adam which is suggested through the brief romance which seems to constantly stop and start.
The rivalry between chefs Reece (Mathew Rhys) and Adam seems to fall through in a dramatic scene in which Adam loses control of himself and is shown compassion by his supposed enemy. This particular scene, despite being the only moment which receives a reaction from the audience, causes further confusion as to what the film is actually trying to portray. The constant appearance of drug lords becomes tiresome and repetitive as do Cooper’s outbursts in the kitchen and the entire film seems to drag on longer than is necessary. Throughout the film the scenes display a montage of flavours of different genres without closely sticking to one, re-affirming its lack of clarity and suggesting that the director himself was unsure of the type of film he wanted to create.
All in all, despite some entertaining moments and attractive visual imagery, Burnt fails to make a statement and portray a realistic and gripping vision of the life of a star chef, causing the viewer to leave the cinema perplexed and hungry for a real taste of high class cookery.
Burnt (2015), directed by John Wells, is distributed in the UK by Entertainment Film Distributors. Certificate 15.