A Burnt(2015) review!

Review by James Maina

BURNT poster
BURNT poster

We know there are several things that get burnt: Tangible things like houses or restaurants, combustible things like gas which catches fire and is used to cook, relationships, and indeed many other things get burnt. The worse thing that can happen is for someone to get burnt by fire. Its painful and treating burns is immensely difficult.

Even worse than that, is getting burnt emotionally on the inside – its like burning out from inside. It can be a professional burnout or an relationship gone terribly bad leaving your heart totally burnt. The latter, an inner burn is worse than all the above. The heat is just as intense, burns as rapidly with ferocious intensity however it rarely fizzles out if not resolved. That’s when you see a shell of a formerly confident man, or a woman whose behavior you cannot explain rationally, or a friend betraying you in moment of need.

All the above scenarios are in Burnt (2015),  a movie starring Bradley Cooper as Adam Jones who was once a top chef in Paris until drugs and alcohol led to a meltdown that put his career on hold. After moving from New Orleans to London, Adam gets a shot at redemption when his former maitre d’ (Daniel Brühl) reluctantly hires him as the head chef of his fine-dining restaurant. Demanding perfection from his newly formed staff (Sienna Miller, Omar Sy), the acerbic and temperamental Jones gets a second chance to fulfill his dream of earning a third Michelin star.

The most interesting part of this movie is in the first 3 minutes. I have never watched and re-watched a scene so many times. Adam, now sober and incredibly passionate, has a book where is he recording and crossing out how many sea oysters he has shucked in his self imposed penance after his meltdown.

The figure in the book is awe inspiring. 1,000,000 oysters done! He then quits the job and considers himself ready to start again. And he starts in a most dramatic fashion, creating a restaurant buzz in town and pushing others to their limits, accepting only the best – shouting out mediocrity – and at the very end, figuring out the balance of what really matters in life.

Rated 8 out of 10


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