Director John Wells (AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY) returns to our screens with a slight and predictable romantic drama that had the capability to be so much more. BURNT stars Bradley Cooper as a michelin star chef called Adam who is a recovering addict. He returns after a two year hiatus to open a new restaurant to prove all the critics wrong, win a third star, and poke two fingers in the eye of his rival Reece (Matthew Rhys). On one hand, this movie wants to be a light romantic drama about a difficult person finding love and emotional balance. So naturally when Adam meets a feisty chef called Helene (Sienna Miller) and they have a massive ding-dong battle, we know they are going to end up falling in love. She even has a super-cute kid with which Adam can bond. And when the first act of the movie sets up Adam as a dinosaur who refuses to cook sous-vide, we assume she's also going to give him a water-bath and some plastic bags and lead him joyously into the food revolution to wow the critics.
But then the movie thinks about taking a slightly different turn into a much more complicated and fascinating world and we think - yes - this is why Brad Cooper has agreed to do what seems on the surface like quite schlocky fare. We realise that within his kitchen he's dealing with the consequences of his addiction - the colleagues he hurt and the maitre d' he'd let down. And throughout the film we have the shadowy French figures who are after him from drug debts. We see him struggle with his addiction and think, finally some meat for Cooper to sink his teeth into. But in the end it's too late in the final twenty minutes of the run-time to drag the film back into profundity and it wants its perfect romantic ending too badly. This is a tremendous shame, and a waste of a supporting cast that includes Emma Thompson, Alicia Vikander, Omar Sy and Daniel Bruehl.
BURNT is rated R and has a running time of 101 minutes. The movie is on release in the USA, Turkey, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Macedonia, Portugal, Bulgaria, Iceland, Poland, Kuwait, Serbia, Singapore, Canada, Turkey, France, the Philippines, South Korea, the UK, Ireland and Sweden. It opens on November 12th in Russia and Estonia; on November 20th in Lithuania and Norway; on November 26th in Italy and the Netherlands; on December 3rd in Germany and Finland; on December 10th in Brazil, Denmark, Hong Kong; on January 21st in Chile; and on January 28th in Argentina and Thailand.