ByJames Wood, writer at
Unabashed Transformers fan. Man crush on Tom Hardy. Avid fan of Tommy Wiseau's cult disasterpiece The Room.
James Wood

Bad reviews, surprisingly no awards attention considering its onscreen talent and grounded narrative and rather undercooked at the box office, Burnt is far from a bad film, it's an enthralling drama about a man desperate to make his way to the top, even if that means using deceit and tactic to pave the way. Bradley Cooper goes full Gordon Ramsay, and more, and the results are fiery.

The cast is what drew me to this film, and boy do they deliver. Some stars are underused in smaller roles but their presence is welcome and makes an impact. Alicia Vikander is striking in looks and earthy here. Uma Thurman is convincing as a high-end food reviewer who from the moment she appears you know is an important figure. Lily James, however, is wasted, such a criminal waste of talent to have her onscreen for barely a minute in a forgettable role. I get the feeling that casting directors wanted as much star power in this feature, but didn't think that the actors would be severely limited in screen time.

Bradley Cooper is excellent as the lead. He's not necessarily likeable but he has moments of vulnerability and sense, which do turn the tables on how you perceive his character, though Cooper is at this best when he's staring into the eyes of his cooks intensely, I felt the rage and anger and that's what makes him so good here. As Adam Jones, it's not an Oscar worthy performance, look at American Sniper or American Hustle for Cooper's best, but he still gives it his all and it shows. Sienna Miller is superb and so convincing as a single mother trying to balance that part of her life and work under the intensity of Adam Jones. Sienna more than holds her own against a fierce Cooper and I liked how she conveyed stress, cockiness and determination all at once.

With excellent supporting performances from a classy Daniel Bruhl, Sam Keeley, Omar Sy who holds a bloody good twist with his character, a sweet Emma Thompson and Matthew Rhys who is brilliantly brooding and smarmy, Burnt boasts talent and star power as juicy as some of the food on show. The cinematography is clean and at times mouth watering when amazing dishes of food are being prepared, cut and tasted, I was left jaw dropped at some of the meals on show, there's a point where a knife slowly cuts perfectly through a cooked egg yolk, it runs onto the plate so smoothly and this display of culinary prowess is seen throughout. Consistency is a winner with Burnt as the cast, the look and the tone stay balanced throughout.

There is nothing actually wrong that stands out with this film, it just isn't overly exciting or heart pumping. I guess Burnt could've benefitted from more scenes filled with tension, I would've liked to see extended scenes of the food critics come in and taste the food then slowly reveal their verdict, then see the reactions on the faces of the waiters and then the chefs. More of this then, otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed Burnt more than I thought I would, it doesn't deserve the weak reviews, it's definitely one to watch and I'd recommend.


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