Directed by John Wells
Written by Steven Knight
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Omar Sy, Daniel Brühl, Matthew Rhys, Alicia Vikander, Uma Thurman, and Emma Thompson
If nothing else, “Burnt” proves that Bradley Cooper is certainly one of the finest actors working in Hollywood today. Cooper gives an outstanding performance, despite the limitations of the clichéd story. Cooper’s performance might have been Oscar worthy, but unfortunately for Cooper because the film that surrounds him is less than stellar. I doubt that “Burnt” will be the movie that yields Cooper a fourth consecutive acting nomination. Through his performance, Cooper makes want to see this unlikeable character he plays succeed by the end of the movie. The cast that supports Cooper is also great. The chemistry between Cooper, Miller, Sy, and Brühl is fantastic. I do wish that they had given Alicia Vikander more than just two scenes. One because she seemed to have a significant part in the life of Cooper’s character before the start of the movie, and two because Vikander too talented an actress to waste with only two scenes.
Aside from the acting “Burnt” does not offer much. The movie is the age-old story of a man who messes up his life, and must rise from the ashes like the mythical phoenix. In telling the same old song and dance about a man’s redemption “Burnt” offers nothing new or exciting to it. You are rooting for him to get his life together; you do not know why, but you know that he will succeed in the end.
Unlike “Amadeus” where the movie gives that shows the genius that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was, “Burnt” spends a lot of time telling how great a chef Cooper’s character is, the film does not show you that he is the great chef it wants you to believe he is. Without showing you that assertion, the movie feels pointless. Adding to the “Amadeus” motif, the rival of Cooper’s character in the film says that he is tired of the Mozart/Salieri relationship between them. While he makes this statement, the film does little to develop this point.
“Burnt” while was a clichéd redemption story that needed to elaborate on certain aspects of the story to make it a stronger film. Cooper’s performance does elevate the movie beyond its limitations. “Burnt” if led by lesser lead actor would have been a torturous watch.