Wednesday, November 4, 2015
FOOD IN FILM: BURNT
As you know, T&T is normally about film and food separately, but we always look forward to featuring foodie films or films with food like BURNT and we had a great lead in, as prior to the screening, T&T contributor Diane Roka and I attended the opening of a new upscale Mexican restaurant in Ardmore called Besito (to be posted soon), putting us in a very culinary mood.
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Bradley Cooper has more than charisma, he has an over abundance of Chi, which radiates out from him; so for me, this role as temperamental and damaged chef Adam Jones, who also inspires great love and admiration from those around him, works on the level of characterization. In fact, I think he's among a very short list of actors who would be able to pull off being so self-involved and yet likable. Doesn't hurt that he really speaks French too!
To explain the basic mise en place: Adam Jones is a bad boy ("rockstar") chef who ran a two-Michelin-star restaurant in Paris. Through his addiction to drugs and alcohol, he lost it all. He sentenced himself — his words, not mine — to New Orleans to shuck a million oysters as penance. The film opens on the completion of said task. He goes to London to re-establish himself, takes over the restaurant at the Langham Hotel run by the son (Daniel Brühl) of his mentor, recruits then beds Hélene (Sienna Miller), and finally earns his third star. He screams a lot in the kitchen and throws plates against walls. He's intense. He's Bradley Cooper. - READ MORE Joshua David Stein Eater.com
|Jones is always telling his Sous Chef to take the Passé, which means be in charge, when he's gotta leave the line to deal with ex-drug dealers or exchange verbal sparring with rival chefs|
While I understand some of the criticism of this movie, I felt engaged watching "Burnt". One reviewer described Adam gathering up the team for his new kitchen, as similar to putting together the heist brigade for an Ocean's Eleven movie. This reviewer meant it snidely, but I think it's an apt description, in a good way - Jones recruits a green cook from a pub, who's a genius with meat; he makes amends with an old friend who had become an enemy after Jones destroyed his restaurant with rats, during his drugged out bad boy phase; he hires a chef fresh out of prison for assault, who had cut off the nose of someone in his kitchen for serving a fish dish served with the head, plated upside down, on more than one occasion; Jones is so determined to have Hélene (Miller) in his kitchen, he gets her fired from her current restaurant and then proceeds to berate, humiliate and fire her on her first day. These scenes held good energy and are important for establishing the importance of how closely chefs work together in a high pressured, fine dining establishment - becoming family.
Bottom line: If you're looking for a quality foodie movie with a fresh take on a star chef who loses it and has to regain his reputation, then I suggest Jon Favreau's CHEF. Burnt directed by John Wells, Consultant Chef Gordon Ramsay, written by Steven Knight & Michael Kalesnikois is a little singed around the edges, but definitely still edible.
T &T's LAMB Score: 3 outta 5
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