Recipe for success
Director: John Wells (August: Osage County) Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Bruhl, Emma Thompson, Alicia Vikander, Uma Thurman, Omar Sy Verdict: Be careful what you dish for
AFTER the massive mid-year misfire that was Aloha, the scene might have been set for an extended backlash against all things Bradley Cooper.
Luckily, his new film Burnt does more than enough to make that lamentable last effort look like the unhappy accident that it truly was.
While Burnt has reportedly experienced more than the usual share of problems in making it to cinemas – as evidenced by several title changes and relentless talk of re-shaping done on the fly – a lively ensemble cast and solid scripting overcomes most obvious flaws.
Cooper stars as Adam Jones, a rock-star chef who has fallen on hard times after succumbing to heroin addiction.
In the process of getting his life back together, Adam embarks on a crusade to reunite the all-star kitchen dream team he used to work with when he was the toast of the Paris food scene.
Adam’s goal is to win the absolute culinary seal of approval that eluded him as a young man in France – a coveted third Michelin star.
However, before he stands any chance of resurrecting himself to such new and exalted heights, Adam needs the backing of an A-list restaurant.
After some indecision, Tony (Daniel Bruhl), a justifiably wary old acquaintance now running a luxury hotel in London, gives Adam and his cutting-edge crew of cooks the chance to prepare dishes so good, “they will make people want to stop eating”.
While Burnt does get off to a rather uncertain and decidedly contrived start, it effortlessly finds its right gear once Cooper gets to lock acting horns with co-star Sienna Miller. In a spirited and feisty performance as an insecure sous chef who blossoms under Adam’s unconventional tutelage, Miller supplies a gritty angst that instantly pushes Cooper’s efforts to a higher level.
Where Burnt does lose some room temperature is in its erratic management of a jam-packed support cast. Minor characters (such as those played by Uma Thurman and Alicia Vikander) are brought vividly to the fore as if to provide an unnecessary plot twist, then are virtually never referred to again.
Food aficianados, however, will not be disappointed by the generous prominence accorded to Burnt’s many drool-worthy prep-and-plate sequences, which were supervised by leading British chef Marcus Wareing.
Now showing Village and State cinemas