John Wells (August: Osage County, Love and Mercy) serves up his latest dramedy Burnt, delivering a delectable, cool sizzle. Centering on chef Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) whom due to a battle with drug and alcohol addiction, loses his restaurant, landing himself in serious debt. The Film centers on Adam‘s battle with his own personal demons getting his life in order while trying to elevate his restaurant from two to coveted three Michelin star status. All the while he finds himself haunted repeatedly with reminders of his past.
Set in London, we witness his intense relationships with restauraunt staffers including single mom and rising star Helene (Sienna Miller), longtime friend and sous chef Michel (Omar Sy), former friend and competitor Reece (Matthew Rhys), business partner Tony (Daniel Brühl) and also ex-girlfriend Anne Marie (Alicia Vikander).
Wells has a unique way of keeping a calm simmer going here set against the manic bustle of the unpredictable kitchen. The multi-talented Cooper flexes his dramatic muscles and we learn that he actually can speak French quite convincingly, capturing Adam’s emotional numbness rather well. Sienna Miller reunites with Cooper after some fantastic chemistry together in last winter’s American Sniper, and she is fully committed in her hipster-haired transformation as an ambitious young woman balancing family and her all-consuming work life. Bruhl is cast well as the icy Tony whose unwavering, unrequited love for Adam is the perfect cool against that one’s flaring temper. Their restaurant in ways is the relationship that never could happen between them and Bruhl so convincingly evokes this.
Although by all means a very engaging journey into Adam‘s psyche, paired with delicious sights, we wish Burnt understood in a bit more detail his deep fear of failure and paralyzing mental illness, perhaps his greatest enemy here, which is touched upon but not quite examined enough.
eOne Films release BURNT on Friday, October 30, 2015.