Nov 8, 2015 | Posted by in Movies

John Wells’ Burnt casts Bradley Cooper as badboy chef Adam Jones who tries to gain the coveted third Michelin Star to have a physical sign of the perfection that he strives to achieve.

Burnt tows a thin line with the main character. On paper Adam Jones is everything that should be unlikeable. He’s rude, arrogant, sabotages people so that they’ll do what he wants and has such a profound sense of entitlement that every character in the film would say that he doesn’t have any right to.

Despite that, Bradley Cooper’s innate charm manages to elevate that character beyond the 1 Dimensional aspects of his personality that the audience sees at the beginning of the film. Beneath his stern and rude exterior is the suggestion of a man who wants to make amends for all the wrong that he has done to others in his life.

In the early part of the film, Adam goes around speaking to people he used to know to call in favours that he doesn’t have in order to establish himself as the best chef around. The tactics are really underhanded but the results speak for themselves. He is such a good chef that once he cooks for people they seem to forgive all wrongs and let him get on with things.

The most interesting relationship in the film is Between Adam and Tony (Daniel Brühl). He uses the threat of harsh critic Simone (Uma Thurman) to take over his kitchen and becomes a fixture thereafter. Tony is wary of Adam but has an awful lot of respect for him that he seems to have inherited from his father. He is also fully aware that his restaurant desperately needs a revamp or it will go under.

Their relationship is the most consistent thing in Adam’s life as Tony shows him respect but is never afraid to tell him when lines have been crossed. It is mentioned that Tony is in love with Adam which most likely translates to the respect that he has for him transcending mere friendship. Brühl is great in this role as he capably puts across a man who has a lot of dignity and refinement who genuinely cares about his business and respects those that work for him.

BurntAnother significant relationship portrayed in the film is between Adam and Helene (Sienna Miller), a single parent who is always frantically running around trying to make ends meet for her young daughter. She is strong willed and not afraid to stand up to Adam when she feels that he’s going too far…which is a lot. Other than that she serves as his love interest which feels massively shoehorned in and doesn’t make sense for either of the characters. Despite this she manages to retain a lot of agency within the story and it is suggested that she has the potential to be as good as he is.

Emma Robertson’s Dr. Rosshide is Adam’s therapist who does drug tests on him once a week to make sure that he truly is a changed man. This element of the film could have been removed as far as I’m concerned as all she does is outline motivations and tell Adam what the viewer could already have figured out simply by observing how others react to him.

The film tells the story well for the most part but has a tendency to ramble on about things it could easily have achieved some other way. Much is made of Adam’s past and what he did to wrong people but it never quite feels part of the story due to half baked conversations that are too vague. None of it is really shown to the degree it should be so it ends up falling by the wayside when it should be right in the middle of the story. If this is a mission of redemption for Adam Jones then the audience should be made fully aware of what he needs to be redeemed for. As a result a lot of the character development feels shallow and superficial rather than being a candid exploration of a damaged man trying to do the right thing.

There are some great moments showcasing Cooper’s considerable acting talent and a twist that I genuinely didn’t see coming. It’s not something that I will spoil but it does come at a point where a certain comfort level has been established and completely throws that in the face of both Adam and the viewer.

In terms of pacing the film is right on the money as I was never bored throughout. It looks great as well with many amazing shots of very tasty looking food being prepared that would make anyone hungry. It’s a lot like Jon Favreau’s Chef in that regard with lots of “food porn” on display in ways that will really engage the appetite.

  • 7.5/10
    Burnt - 7.5/10


A mediocre story somewhat elevated by the acting talents of Bradley Cooper as he plays a disgraced chef on a mission of redemption.

Burnt tows a thin line with the lead character as on paper he should be unlikeable. He is arrogant, rude and has a profound sense of entitlement that every character in the film would say he has no right to. Bradley Cooper’s innate charm manages to elevate the character beyond his negative traits and offers the suggestion of some redeemable qualities within him.

The most interesting relationship in the film is Adam’s partnership with restaurant/hotel owner Tony who respects him despite all he has done. Daniel Brühl plays this character well with a lot of dignity and some clear respect for those who work for him.

Another significant relationship is with Helene who struggles to make ends meet and support her young daughter. She challenges Adam in ways that nobody else does and is apparently has the potential to be as good as he is. The romantic subplot feels out of place but despite that she has plenty of agency within the plot of her own.

Adam’s interactions with his therapist could have been completely removed without hurting the story. Nothing mentioned here is anything more than superficial. All she does is outline things that are otherwise obvious.

The story is well told but has a tendency to ramble on about things that could have been established in other ways. Adam’s past is frequently mentioned but nothing significant comes of it due to the half baked nature of it being mentioned in conversations. It’s a mission of redemption without making it clear what Adam needs to be redeemed for.

In terms of pacing the film does very well as I was never bored throughout. There are some great moments thanks to Cooper’s acting talent and a genuinely surprising twist that appears when a sense of familiarity has been established.