Skip to main content

Burnt | Film review - Bradley Cooper's bad boy chef cooks up a storm

Burnt Bradley Cooper Sienna Miller
Burnt Bradley Cooper Sienna Miller (Image credit: Alex Bailey)

The cooking scenes sizzle when Bradley Cooper's bad boy chef gets in the kitchen, but the flavour doesn't linger in glossy culinary drama Burnt.

Burnt Bradley Cooper Sienna Miller

Bradley Cooper tests his screen charisma to breaking point as a swaggering, arrogant chef in glossy culinary drama (opens in new tab) Burnt.

Three years ago, his character, Adam Jones, crashed and burned, his reckless behaviour ruining not only his own career but also the top Paris restaurant where he worked. Since then he’s given up drinking, sniffing, snorting and injecting, and paid a self-imposed penance of shucking one million oysters at a New Orleans bar. Now he’s in London, determined to make an even bigger mark on the world of haute cuisine by going for a third Michelin star.

Adam still behaves appallingly. He shouts, he screams, throws plates against the wall and almost throttles Sienna Miller’s talented sous chef on his new restaurant’s opening night. Fortunately, Cooper’s flameproof charm keeps us watching, and possibly even rooting for his redemption.

Burnt Bradley Cooper

Unfortunately, his co-stars don’t have nearly as much to get their teeth into. Miller does her best with her underwritten role, as does Daniel Brühl as a doggedly loyal maitre d’. A soulful Alicia Vikander makes the most of her two scenes as Adam’s former lover, the daughter of the Parisian mentor he betrayed, and Emma Thompson pops up briefly now and then to offer clichéd words of wisdom as a therapist.

Uma Thurman has even less to do, although her Evening Standard restaurant critic plays a crucial early role in the plot. Lily James’s part is a blink-or-miss cameo. Jamie Dornan’s was cut entirely.

Burnt is shallow cinematic fare for sure, but its cooking scenes – sliced and diced by bravura editing - sizzle with energy. All told, it is a dish that slips down easily enough, but without enough flavour to linger long on the palate.

starstrip3

Certificate 15. Runtime 101 mins. Director John Wells

Burnt makes its debut on Sky Cinema Premiere today (opens in new tab) and is available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Download, courtesy of Entertainment in Video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1G5E5Eo1wo

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.