This film used to be called Adam Jones and just featured Bradley Cooper standing against a white background on the poster. I thought it was just a senior picture for his pseudonym but it turns out that’s a film about an alcoholic chef going for his third Michelin star. So, yeah, maybe?
Burnt is a strange film, a film that wants so badly not to fit into the formula “comeback” films so often fit into, but invariably does just that. Bradley Cooper plays Adam Jones, a once famous chef who’s fallen on hard times, but now, with a team of misfits underneath him, he’s back to get his 3rd Michelin star. It’s a beautifully put together film, Wells and his team take high-end cooking’s beauty to the max, and there’s moments where it’s a just a cornucopia of food porn that, as an immense lover of filmed food programs, I found delightful. On the story side of things, this is exactly the film you’d think of when you think of a film about a chef trying to get back in the game. You watch Adam Cooper gather his team, set-up his kitchen, display his charming-but-monstrous personality (and Cooper really goes for it in the scenes of anger), all the while battling against the demons that originally shackled him. And, as these films go, somewhere in the third act, things go wrong and as much as you want to think that John Wells is going to flip the script on you, well, he doesn’t. Things fall apart, things get better, so on and so forth. To Wells credit though, this is a film rooted in realism. It doesn’t play to big moments, but rests on the shoulders of Cooper’s portrayal, as well as the strangely ethereal, time-bending quality of the editing. At times it works, at times it feels flat, but when the film ends (and it ends in a beautiful anti-climax that will trick viewers into thinking this is a better film than it is) you’ll walk away sated. You’ll walk away with the satisfaction of a pretty good movie done pretty well. And, honestly, in these days of every film swinging for the bleachers, it’s nice to just sit and enjoy one that tries just hard enough.
Michael Rhys everybody, Jesus, this guy should be in everything.