Bradley Cooper stars as down and out chef Adam Jones, who is working to undo the mistakes of his past and earn himself the coveted three Michelin stars, a feat that would make him a god in the culinary world. On his journey of redemption, he visits old friends—and enemies—from his past life, recruiting them along with a few newcomers to join his kitchen staff.
Once Jones assembles his team, he works to create a kitchen better than that of his past. As pressure builds, the tensions rise, and the mistakes of Jones’ past come back to wreak havoc on his new dream.
A lot of the movie consisted of Bradley Cooper yelling various obscenities at people. Coming off much like the American version of Gordon Ramsay, Adam Jones was a largely abrasive presence throughout the entirety of the film. Though he is the protagonist, his character doesn’t really become likeable until failure humanizes him near the conclusion of the film. Cooper himself does a fine job as this arrogant, fast-talking, and occasionally abusive chef, but his character takes too long to become someone to root for.
The other characters in the movie often take a backseat to Coopers’ Jones. Sienna Miller is featured in the film as Helene, the headstrong single mother who assists Jones in the kitchen. Tony (Daniel Bruhl) is the reluctant restaurant owner with a dying father who allows Cooper back in the kitchen because of lingering feelings from the past. David (Sam Kealey) is the young apprentice whom Jones takes under his wing and into his kitchen. But other than these few details, the audience doesn’t get much more background.
All of the characters’ stories simply revolve around how they affect Jones’ end goal. The character balance, much like the protagonist, was often selfish.
It’s not like the movie had zero redeeming aspects. All of the actors were talented. The tension in the kitchen was dynamic and engaging. There were plot twists and character flaws that breathed some life into the staling storyline. But, for the most part, the movie on the whole was just pretty average.
Overall, Burnt ends up being a pretty straightforward redemption film with not much flair along the way, unless you count the kind that Jones has in the kitchen on a regular basis. It wasn’t a remarkable movie, and probably isn’t worth going to the theater to see, but if it ever ends up on Netflix, it’s a good, mindless way to kill an hour and a half of your Sunday afternoon.