Recipe for suc­cess

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WEEK IN MOVIES -

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

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