I just got home from watching Bradley Cooper’s new film ‘Burnt’, directed by John Wells. It follows Adam Jones as he tries to rebuild his life and reputation, three years after destroying his life in a high-end restaurant in Paris due to number of addictions. With the help of old friends and some new, he starts over, aiming for that coveted 3 Michelin Star. Going into this film I did not have high expectations, I’m not a big fan of cooking (can barely get through an episode of ‘Masterchef’) and yet this film was worse than I had anticipated.
Let’s try to look at some positives:
Bradley Cooper is a fantastic actor. He doesn’t present Jones as a cushy pity-is-me character – he’s real. We grow to love him just as quickly as we hated him. Actually, pretty much all the actors in this are strong and charismatic. They all tried so so hard to bring their characters to life with such a weak script. Jones’ love interest for the film a struggling single mum is quickly reduced to a sidekick – we learn nothing of her circumstance or what made her into such a strong woman. As one of the cooks is released from jail, it’s mentioned he cut off someone’s nose – this of course (!) is never mentioned again, and the cook becomes a voiceless entity.
The second positive is probably that the food looked really good in this film.
That’s all for the positives.
I really tried to give this film a chance. The opening shots of the film gave me hope: they were carefully constructed, full of meaning. This seems to have gone straight out the window the second Jones lands in his friend’s hotel. The audience is then left to enjoy an hour or so of lots and lots of medium shots and Jones’ character verbally abusing others.
This was probably what annoyed me quite a bit – Jones physically grabs his love interest ( I honestly can’t remember her name for the life of me she was so bland) at the beginning and shakes her violently. While she yells at him, she comes back and all is forgiven, and never discussed again. I feel the film really missed a big part by portraying Jones’ behaviour as normal and erratic – almost part of his genius, rather than him battling his demons.
A particularly underused character was that of Dr. Rosshilde (Emma Thompson), the psychologist. There was so much potential for Jones to gain greater insight into himself and character develop but in the end it was just left to him realising things don’t have to be perfect. ‘It’s ok to not be perfect’ is just so overused in films – I had really hoped to see him further look back on how his addiction had hurt the people around him – rather than him apologising to people and them forgiving him rather quickly. Also just an interesting side note: the fact that Dr. Rosshilde knew Jones’ friend and treated him makes it unethical for her to treat Jones.
I don’t think it’s fair if I score the film as a whole out of 10. The acting was amazing but the weak script prevented the actors from fully encapsulating their characters and telling their story.
Till next time 🙂