Movie Review - Jackie K Cooper
"Burnt" (The Weinstein Company)
Bradley Cooper plays a smoldering chef in the new film "Burnt" but somehow the makers of the movie just didn't make him or the movie hot enough. Director John Wells follows the script and gives us a flawed hero, but when it comes time for possible redemption everything goes awry. Cooper's acting is so successful in creating a rude and crude boor that he is never able to reign the character back in. Learning from one's mistakes is one thing, but having them still linger at the end is another.
Cooper plays Adam Jones, a brilliant and creative chef who has let drugs and alcohol mess up his life. At the start of the film he is on the road back to sobriety, trying to reconnect with people whose lives he has ruined. Among these are Tony (Daniel Bruhl), a restauranteur and hotel owner. Also in his past is Michel (Omar Sy), a man whose career Adam wrecked in the cruelest of ways. Both men manage to forgive him and help him get back on the road as a chef.
Adam also brings in Helene (Sienna Miller) as his sous-chef. She is a single mother who is wary of Adam's reputation as a womanizer. Still his reputation as a brilliant chef makes her eager to work with him. Too soon she sees the negative side of his personality as he harasses and abuses his staff. Cooper throws himself into these harangues and makes the audience wary of any later softening that occurs.
Having a believable relationship with Helene would help give credibility to Adam's journey toward humanness, but she is made to look much less attractive than she should be. Her hair is cropped and her lack of makeup is not flattering. This is especially accentuated by the return of Adam's former romantic partner Anne Marie (Alicia Vikander). Anne Marie is everything Helene is not. A movie about Adam and Anne Marie would have been more believable and more enjoyable.
There is also a problem with the continuity of some instances in the movie. For example, in one crucial scene Adam suffers a massive physical beating. His face is scraped and his body is bruised. Within moments his face heals and his bruises disappear and reappear. Plus he returns to fine physical shape and endurance.
"Burnt" is a movie full of good performances but lacking in a cogent script. There are minor characters aplenty but they do nothing to flesh out who and what Adam is. Cooper gives it a good try but the journey to redemption is far-fetched and lacking.
The film is rated R for profanity and violence.
The recasting of Cooper and Miller after their appearances in "American Sniper"had audiences eagerly awaiting this rematch. However with just a couple of scenes Vikander stole the movie from Miller. She is the female character you remember. Cooper gave it his best effort but he and Miller could never heat up the screen that way.
I scored "Burnt" an uncooked 5 out of 10.
Jackie K Cooper