“Burnt” Finally A Title That Suits A Film!!!
By Scott Kurland
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Bruhl, Omar Sy, Uma Thurman, Matthew Rhys, and Emma Thompson
Director John Wells
Similar film subjects, it’s a tale as old as time. For some unknown reason competing movie studios release films that teeter on being copycats of other films. Warner Brothers released “The Goonies” and almost six months later Paramount released “The Monster Squad”. Paramount releases “Top Gun” in May of 1986, but back in January of 1986 TriStar had already released “Iron Eagle”. This song and dance has gone on FOREVER!!! For every “Rookie Of The Year”, another studio will release a “Little Big League”. Last year one of the best films of 2014 was Jon Favereau’s “CHEF”. A film about disgraced Chef searching for redemption and reconnect with his family. This week’s film “Burnt” stars Bradley Cooper as a disgraced Chef trying to find a a group of Chefs to call his family. Does this surprise you? Well it shouldn’t; Hollyweird has been stealing from itself for years. Now let’s find out which is the better film shall we?
“Burnt” is the story of Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) renowned Head Chef and the bad boy of cooking. Jones is on what he calls his comeback tour. What does Jones have to repent for? Well he nearly killed himself with drugs and alcohol. He destroyed any chance his Sous Chef Michel (Omar Sy) had at becoming a Head Chef. Finally he has a large debt he needs to pay to a French crime lord. So what does Jones do? He goes to London to re-establish himself. With the help of his old friend and backer Tony (Daniel Bruhl), he builds the greatest restaurant London has ever known. The one thing he didn’t count on was falling for another Chef (Sienna Miller). Is Jones on his way back or is he too “Burnt”.
Let me start out by saying this, I hated this film. Yes, this is a terrible film and it’s no fault to any of the actors. Cooper tries his best to make this despicable human being likable, but he can’t. There’s nothing likable about the character of Adam Jones. He’s such a tyrant I didn’t care about his redemption. He insults everyone, has no remorse for his past, so why should we root for him? Is it because America’s sweetheart Bradley Cooper is playing him? I think that’s what John Wells was going for. Wells has this unlikable character and the only way to make people like him is get an actor everyone likes, right? WRONG! Cooper is still fresh off his most recent flop “Aloha”, and now he has “Burnt” on his resume? This could be career suicide, but it’s not because Cooper will redeem himself next month with “Joy”. The same can’t be said about Wells, he might have to do some TV dramas before he directs a feature again.
My biggest problem with this film is that it’s filled with stars who have one or two scenes that add nothing to the film and then they are never seen or heard from again. Uma Thurman shows up. I don’t know why she does, but she’s gone before I can even process her screen time. The same can be said about Lily James. That’s right “Cinderella” is in this film for about three minutes, she has no reason to be here but she is. I hate when films try and use big name or talented actors as an excuse to cover up a crappy film. The script lacks depth and story, so the only solution is to mask it with great actors giving subpar performances. The only reason to even contemplate seeing this movie is for the supporting performances of Daniel Bruhl and Sienna Miller. Bruhl and Miller shine in their roles. They’re not given much to do; but they make it work regardless.
“CHEF” was a better film. There’s no doubt in my mind that “CHEF” is hands down a better film; I’m just going to throw that out there. It had a better story, a more likable character, and the food looked so delicious. The food in “Burnt” looks disgusting to the point that they don’t even show close ups of any meal he makes. We have wide, side, and medium shots of appetizers, entrees, and sauces. The only close ups we get are of the cakes he makes, because honestly there’s no way to screw up shots of a cake. “Burnt” is just a mean movie, full of selfish characters that hurt each other. It feels like Wells, as a director wanted to show the arrogance of high profile Chefs. I’m sorry but when I see a film I want redeemable characters. They can be arrogant but they have to slowly become humble. “Burnt” shows no arch. We go from one extreme for two hours then the last five minutes a change of character. YOU CAN’T DO THAT!!!! Show some changes, small changes, honestly show me anything that gives hints to Adam Jones learning a lesson. Sadly, they don’t and we get 2015 version of Jude Law’s “Alfie” remake. Which surprisingly both starred Sienna Miller, huh, that’s weird.
“Burnt” really describes this film, the actors look burnt out and tired. I don’t think anyone wants to be making this film, and Cooper’s talent would be better suited for greater roles. “Burnt” is a poorly made film about a great profession. Save your money and watch “CHEF” for free on Netflix. “Burnt” is one of the worst films of 2015, and you’ll see it again in my review of “The Worst of the God Awful 2015 list.”
REVIEW RATING: D -