Something a little different for this outing of Upstream. I’ll be reviewing Burnt on Netflix starring Bradley Cooper (Guardians of the Galaxy, The Hangover) and directed by John Wells (Shameless, E.R.) Jer (Fat Bastard) Slack our editor in chief loves cooking and has been adding some culinary content to our site, I figured I might as well try and score some brownie points and review this movie.
Minor Spoilers Below
Burnt is the story of fallen chef Adam Jones who may of well been “the best” cuisinier in Paris before his drug and alcohol fueled fall from grace. Adam is now two years sober and has turned up in London in an attempt to get back into the game of running a restaurant worthy of earning him a third Michelin Star. Sort of funny side note, I’ve heard the term Michelin Star a million times (mostly on Hell’s Kitchen) but always just thought it was some foodie institution that graded restaurants and awarded stars. It is actually a guide book produced by the Michelin Tire company and has been printed for more than one hundred years. Originally conceived as a way to incentivize new drivers to take longer trips and explore the sights and restaurants reviewed within. People drive more, you sell more tires. Funny how such a basic concept lead to the institution that can literally make or break a chef’s reputation or close a restaurant’s doors.
Adam seemingly has his demons in check as he begins to assemble his team and acquire a restaurant to make his dream of that third star a reality. After some rather inventive maneuvering he teams up with Tony played by
Daniel Brühl (Civil War, The Cloverfield Paradox). Tony is only one in a long line of people Adam ruined when he crashed so hard in Paris. Tony relents and agrees to work with Adam provided he submit to weekly drug tests. Daniel Brühl plays his part as a high strung maitre d’ well. You can tell, even with the bad blood between them, there is genuine affection and Tony wants to see Adam rise again to being a highly respected head chef. This theme is reoccurring in Adam’s life, as most of the people who he surrounded himself and ultimately destroyed in some way with his own fall are drawn back to him for that chance at seeing his redemption. I cannot imagine anyone else playing Adam other than Bradley Cooper, he has that type of charisma that is volatile and magnetic at the same time.
I tend to have a short attention span for most things and a movie really has to draw me in quickly before I lose interest and start doing other things. Don’t get me wrong, I finish whatever I start watching (I’m compulsive like that) but to watch something in a single sitting can be a rare thing for me. I watched this start to finish in a single sitting without even pausing for snacks! Burnt was written by Steven Knight (World War Z 2, The Girl in the Spider’s Web) from a story by Michael Kalesniko (Iron Sky). I have to admit that the actual filming of this movie wasn’t anything spectacular, it is largely driven by the excellent script and compelling performances by it’s cast. Bradley Cooper is reunited with his American Sniper co-star Sienna Miller (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Stardust). Miller is especially a standout as Helene, taking the role of love interest way past the expected tropes and delivers a truly believable character that you can readily identify with. For those of you addicted to reality TV, there are enough Gordon Ramsey moments to entertain you, complete with colorful insults, throwing plates of food, and bizarre kitchen punishments. Only after Adam comes dangerously close to losing it all the second time does he find that his strength doesn’t have to be all that he counts on. With the right team you can sometimes falter because the person next to you can pick you up.