ByLuke Dancer, writer at
Luke Dancer

Burnt is directed John Wells and stars the brilliant Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller and Daniel Bruhl. The story that Burnt is trying to tell, revolves around a chef named Adam Jones, a chef that has suffered from a troubled past due to his sudden rise to fame, and after years of being out of the game he decides to make a comeback that could either make or break his career.

John Wells as a director is one that I haven't ever come across. Looking at his filmography, it looks as though he is more familiar with his skills as a producer than a director, with this being his second feature. His first film seemed to have gotten fairly decent critic reviews but seeing as it wasn't in wide release, Burnt looked to be a a big task. Just a year ago one of my favourite films of 2014 Chef blew my mind with its brilliant writing, directing and cinematography that created a beautifully entertaining film that couldn't have made food look any better. And so with the film Chef (2014) creating great critic and audience response, Burnt looked to be the film that could challenge its superiority...Chef vs. Burnt.

The screenplay written by Steven Knight, surprised me as he's more familiar with writing film and television for British audiences rather than worldwide audiences. The character of Adam Jones is one that is written almost half heartedly, whilst his dialogue scenes were intriguing and great to see unfold on screen, I felt as though we were just meant to believe that he's had this troubled past that the film hardly delves into. Throughout the entire film Adam Jones is being pulled back by his past that we just have to believe and assume happened based on what people say, I feel like we only got to see one half of the character, the other half being something the film never explored. The side characters on the other hand such as Sienna Miller playing the sous chef and Daniel Bruhl playing the restaurant owner were handled great. Sienna Miller's character acts as a rough diamond, a talented and ambitious chef that's haunted by a temper and the responsibilities of singe parenthood in London. Daniel Bruhl's frantic character brings us a kind of comic relief effect, as I believe he reflects the audience in the film during the more intense scenes, seeing as he asks and says the things that we're all thinking. Burn's act structure also seems a little off, after setting up the main character in a mediocre way the third act felt incredible rushed and left me kind of disappointed with how the third act didn't give the first or second any justice.

Seeing as the script didn't hold up as well as I thought it would, the cinematography was brilliant. I felt that the film portrayed food as more of a piece of art rather than just something to devour within 5 minutes. Gorgeous glossed shots of beautifully crafted food left me with my stomach growling at the end of the feature. Whilst the food was well shot, it was also great to see London shot in a stylish and great way, it's portrayed as a vibrant city which consists of diversity portrayed through the films various food spots around London as shown by Adam Jones. The cinematography was definitely one of the great things about Burnt and it will no doubt leave your stomach growling.

As well as the cinematography, the acting amongst the actors was one of better sides of Burnt. Whilst Bradley Cooper's character wasn't written in the best of ways, the way he portrayed Adam Jones was brilliant. He took that character to its limits and really took on the form of a chef that is under a great deal of pressure, whilst dealing with some demons from his past that seem to keep dragging him back. His brilliance and brute like nature was portrayed in a brilliant way by Bradley Cooper and he is without a doubt the best thing of this movie. Sienna Miller's character also was portrayed very well, her performance reflecting of Bradley Cooper's excellently and formed this partnership that came together through their passion for great food. Daniel Bruhl has always been an actor I've admired, especially from his work in Inglorious Basterds (2009) and Rush (2013). He's truly an actor that deserves to be recognised more, and his performance in Burnt just added to his growing reputation. As I mentioned beforehand he portrays a charismatic but frantic restaurant owner that is there for a bit of comic relief. His character I felt definitely mirrored how the audience was thinking throughout the film which I thought was very cleverly executed. Overall the performances were well executed and everyone took on the role of their characters very well, but if it weren't for the poor writing I believe each character could have excelled even further.

Burnt is definitely an entertaining feature, but it does come with some baggage. It feels more of a sequel than a stand alone film, like it missing an entire first half and we've only just jumped in at the last minute. The writing in the pacing felt rushed and disjointed and the main character seemed underdeveloped, but it was the performances that definitely saved Steven Knight's day. Food never looked so good, it served as the paint on the beautiful canvas that was London being painted by Bradley Cooper. Don't expect too much from Burnt but definitely check it out if you're just up for an entertaining ride at the cinema.


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