Director: John Wells
Writer: Steven Knight
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Brühl, Riccardo Scamarcio, Omar Sy, Sam Keeley, Henry Goodman, Matthew Rhys, Stephen Campbell Moore, Emma Thompson, Uma Thurman, Alicia Vikander, Lily James
Seen on: 16.12.2015
Adam (Bradley Cooper) was the rising star in the cooking world before alcohol and drugs got the better of him. When his career was completely destroyed (plus the career of some of his friends for good measure), he set himself the penance of shucking a million oysters. Three years later he is sober and as he reaches the final oyster, he is ready to give his career a new start. Activating all his old connections and bullying himself into a restaurant kitchen, he is ready to get that third Michelin star.
Burnt is a film about an asshole that for some reason is be believed the coolest person on the planet. The best that I can say about it is that it’s watchable and the cast is good. Other than that, though, I was mostly annoyed by it.
As I was watching Burnt, I kept thinking of The Transporter (stay with me, I promise, I have reasons for that). In both films, we have male protagonists who live entirely on their own terms and everybody else has to conform to them. This egotism is sold as peak coolness in both films. Only with The Transporter I’m willing to let them sell this to me as I lean back to enjoy a cheesy action movie. Burnt, on the other hand, is the cinematic equivalent of a chugger, shoving whatever they want you to sign up for (in this case, Adam’s awesome) in your face, talking over you and getting in your way, eliciting mostly aggression and a reflexive no on my side.
It doesn’t even matter that by the end, Adam learns the lesson of teamwork and that you can’t do everything alone (although it does show nicely that an award system that rewards the chef cook and ignores the rest of the kitchen is deeply flawed). Even if you don’t think that the character development was a hack job (I did), you’ll have trouble caring about it anymore after sitting through 90 minutes of assholery with inexplicable patience from everybody else.
But even apart from Adam as a character (and there is nothing much that isn’t about Adam in the film at all), the film is a mess. The set-up is old, the characters are trope-y and when it turns out that [SPOILER] the only black guy in the film is also a traitor to Adam’s cause [/SPOILER] it’s pretty racist.
I dIdn’t think I’d get a masterpiece with this film, but I thought I’d enjoy it at least. That turned out not to be the case. Most of the time I just kept wondering what it actually is that they want from me. And that’s just annoying.