Welcome Guest | Register | Login

REVIEW: Does Bradley Cooper's "Burnt" cleanse the palate?


Philadelphia’s own Bradley Cooper (The Hangover) tackles the role of a repentant chef in Burnt. As Adam Jones, he left America to study cooking in Paris and rose to be one of the premier chefs- before he left with everything in ruins. Adam, who hides his vulnerability behind a veneer of self-deprecation, returns to London, trying to rebuild his reputation and repair his fractured relationships. Photo: www.picpicx.com

One of the joys of this movie is that a delightful ensemble surrounds Cooper. Burnt might be billed as Cooper’s film, but he seems at ease sharing the screen with all the other actors. Cooper also gets a chance to showcase his French fluency, and he makes the transitions between both languages appear effortless. Emma Thompson plays Dr. Rosshilde, who has been hired to keep tabs on his sobriety. Thompson’s scenes with Cooper crackle with wit, common sense and compassion. German actor Daniel Brühl (Rush) runs the hotel and restaurant where Adam hopes to work. Bruhl is always excellent, delivering another grounded performance.

Cooper’s American Sniper co-star Sienna Miller portrays Helene, a single mother taking care of her young daughter, while perfecting her craft. She and Cooper have a great rapport and it’s a relief to find her role is more complex than pretty love interest. She is his Ginger Rogers to his Fred Astaire, matching him for skill in those cooking sequences. This year’s IT girl, Alicia Vikander (The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Ex Machina) makes a brief but compelling appearance as Adam’s old flame, while Welsh actor Matthew Rhys, (FX’s The Americans) plays rival chef, Reece, balancing intensity and affection. Uma Thurman makes a brief but fun appearance as Simone Forth, a restaurant critic. Rounding out the cast are Omar Sy (Michel) and Riccardo Scamarcio (Max), the two former colleagues Adam convinces to help him.

The movie provides a look into workings of a kitchen – showing how the more junior members have to hustle to deliver the part of the dish to the more senior chefs. The camera work in the kitchens is quick, focusing on the heat and speed needed to create these masterpieces. Gorgeous dishes are on display, but unlike the other culinary movie Chef, they seem out of reach.

Director John Wells keeps the pace moving, and counters the occasional histrionics with quiet, intimate conversations. The set design is lovely, with both of the restaurants having an aloof otherworldly feel to them. The soundtrack and score are jaunty and fun. And well, London, is beautiful.

Don’t let the trailers fool you – Burnt is an engaging character study of a man transforming his life. The film is rated R for language and some violence.

Contact Diane Cooney at dcooney@philly2philly.com

Register NOW with Philly2Philly!  

Follow us on Philly2Philly's Facebook page!  And don't forget to "like" us!

Follow us on Twitter

Any ideas or submissions? Just send them to info@philly2philly.com

Photo: www.picpicx.com