Burnt

 

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A hedonistic chef burns out and then attempts to redeem himself in John Wells’ slick, wildly entertaining confection.

 

Sara (Lily James) is more than a little unnerved by the strange American dossing down on her boyfriend’s sofa. “He's a two-star Michelin chef,” her boyfriend (Sam Keeley) tells her. “He's supposed to be scary. To get even one Michelin star, you have to be, like, Luke Skywalker. Two, you’re the guy Alec Guinness played. But if you manage to get three, you're Yoda.”

 

The American in question is Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper), a former star of the Paris restaurant scene who burned out. But having kicked the booze, the drugs and the women, he’s back in Europe and resolved to open the best restaurant in London. He wants to make food so good that his customers can’t eat it.

 

Burnt

Food for thought: Bradley Cooper as Adam Jones 

 

If Gordon Ramsay looked like Bradley Cooper, he’d be Adam Jones. Adam Jones has anger issues, sure, but only in the quest for perfection. He’s striving for the culinary orgasm, and that comes at a price; but before he can assemble the capital’s best team of cooks, he must make amends for his past…

 

You can pretty much see where John Wells’ Burnt is going, but Steven Knight’s screenplay is every bit as masterful as Jones’s cordon bleu creations and so we just enjoy the ride. Wells, who previously directed the all-star The Company Men and August: Osage County, has a knack for attracting major thespian talent and here has marshalled a succulent cast and, in her best performance yet, Sienna Miller as a chef de partie and single mother. Londoners may baulk at Wells’ geographical liberties, but the city looks fantastic, as do the sleek interiors and mouth-watering dishes, making this as much a great advertisement for the capital as it is for fine dining.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Omar Sy, Daniel Brühl, Matthew Rhys, Uma Thurman, Emma Thompson, Riccardo Scamarcio, Sam Keeley, Alicia Vikander, Lily James, Henry Goodman, Stephen Campbell Moore, Julian Firth.

 

Dir John Wells, Pro Stacey Sher, Erwin Stoff and John Wells, Screenplay Steven Knight, Ph Adriano Goldman, Pro Des David Gropman, Ed Nick Moore, Music Rob Simonsen, Costumes Lyn Paolo.

 

Shiny Penny Productions/3 Arts Entertainment/Battle Mountain Films/Entertainment Film Distributors-Entertainment Film Distributors.

100 mins. USA. 2015. Rel: 6 November 2015. Cert. 15.