Burnt – Film Review

After a long absence owing to drugs and alcohol, Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) tries to redeem himself as a top chef in London. Just every bit obnoxious as before, Adam is able to convince his former maitre d’ (Daniel Brühl), who reluctantly hires him as head chef of his father’s restaurant. Trusting in his newly formed team, Adam will cut to the bone to ensure perfection and reach his goal of earning a third Michelin star.
Burnt is not so much about food as it is about the restaurant industry, showing a side that the unexposed viewer may probably have never thought of. In that way I learned a lot and that is probably what kept me intrigued throughout the movie. Although I would imagine most people are aware of the stressful nature behind the scenes of any industry, this movie expressively portrays the angst that many chefs may have towards securing his or her place at the top, getting deeper into a chef’s individual struggles and how that plays against the reliance on a team of individuals with similar goals.
Through various levels, Burnt focuses on a rawer angle. The candidness of the story and characters leaves you wondering where you can draw the line between what is fiction and what could be an actual reflection of the industry. The different personality types that are forced into the same environment but driven by the same goal generate the energy of hustle and spitefulness along with cohesion and commitment. To me, this film was like a doorway, where the kitchen is the portal that opens us up to a whole other part of our world.
Here, a blend of cultures also filter through, where you hear the French and English languages being spoken interchangeably, along with English being spoken in American, and British and Spanish accents; and it is difficult to pinpoint the exact location or setting of the story if you do not pay attention.
Being a movie that centres on the crowded restaurant kitchen, of course you can expect other sensory elements like visuals and sound to compensate for the lack of taste and smell. With an array of dishes presented on almost every surface throughout the story, the dynamic camera angles and sensitivity to sound create a culinary experience that is so real you can almost taste it; the ‘shink’ that a knife makes as it gets sharpened to slice into fresh seabass; the smoke and sizzle of a reddish-brown steak on the grill will make your butter flavoured popcorn taste like cardboard.
However, I would say most of the excitement simmers down as the rest of the movie plays out. It does not necessarily become boring altogether; it just reaches a point where the intrigue settles. Unfortunately the angst of a bad boy chef trying to redeem his name in the restaurant industry does not carry its weight in a fascinating manner for very long. Although a three star movie rating may not exactly fare the same as a third Michelin star, Burnt is not too bad and I would say it is worth spending your free time watching.