May 23, 2024
Peter Calder

"Burnt": Great Ingredients, Poor Delivery (2 minute read)

"Burnt" had a chance to be one of the greatest films about cooking and the high-performance culinary world. 

A few things hit the nail on the head, such as the visuals, sound, and marvellous cast. Then, there were a few things that missed the nail completely, specifically the story and journey.  

I'll start with the good. The film offers a great look into the culinary world, the heat, intensity and obsessiveness for perfection. The visuals and sound pair nicely, emphasizing all the senses in the kitchen; this felt similar to "Ratatouille." The food looks and sounds just as great as much as the chef obsesses about it. The sounds in the kitchen and the atmosphere create a beautiful musical ensemble. 

However, the cast was the best thing the film had going for it. The characters were very well cast, and each actor and actress fit their roles nicely. Huge names from Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Bruhl, and even Emma Thompson filled the cast. Each character has a strong, distinctive personality, and watching them clash and rub off each other was entertaining. A turning point for me was that the film was too centric towards Bradley Cooper's character.  

The downside for me with the film was from the beginning, it was one of those films where you could tell precisely how the story and the characters would play out. Adam Jones, Bradley Cooper's character, did have a character arc and was ultimately more soft than he was at the beginning. But that was sort of it; it would've been nice to crack open his character with more layers rather than just being a stereotypical perfection-seeking aggressive individual. 

The most exciting part about the story was the Michelin procfine-dining fine dining restaurants navigate the most prestigious award for their field. But that's not truly what the story is about; it's more about Adam Jones' redemption, which I did not find interesting at all, espe, atcially since the beginning of the film, his "rock bottom" is staying in aand  nice hotel living off of room service and excellent street food. Focusing on the other characters' journeys and lives would also be nice.

We learn a bit about Sienna's character's life, but it would be nice to focus more. Or even Adam Jones's nemesis in the film, the opposing chef. We barely explored who he was at all.  

I will say this, however: The film did a fantastic job showing what it would be like to be in that kitchen seeking perfection at the highest level. I just wish there was a bit more depth or layers to the story and journey itself. 

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