(M) Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller

Chef Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) is considered a culinary genius. Underneath all of his brilliance in the kitchen, he harbours a multitude of personal flaws and they have left him with a jaded past. He was able to spend his time at the top of the culinary world as a very young man, but one day he disappeared from it all. He was running from his life choices and hid away for three years from the world of chefs and Michelin stars. After paying his self-induced penance, Adam attempts to re-enter the realm of restaurateurs. Throughout this personal quest to achieve the goal of a third Michelin star, he has to bring together key figures from his past and recruit new talent to redeem himself. Adam has relegated himself to clean living, but the demons from his past and his remaining self-destructive tendencies reek havoc on his relationships and entrepreneurial prospects.

If Burnt shows us anything, it is that the key element of a chef’s life is finding the perfect mix of flavours. So they can create a unique creation that will stun the palettes of all who partake in this culinary adventure. The same can be said of attempting to create the perfect film — a director must find the right blend of direction, script and acting talent to plate up a magical cinematic outing.

Alongside a crowded market of food stuff on our small screens, director John Wells (August: Osage County) manages to find that delicious combination that differentiates it from the rest. Wells brings together a wealth of on-screen talent that provides the right amount of spice. Every player provides the needed components to make this film work exceptionally well, with the cast lead strongly by Cooper and Sienna Miller (who previously starred together in American Sniper). Ultimately, though, Burnt‘s genius is found in its script. The Adam Jones character is written with the balance of vulnerability and arrogance required to convey the charismatic attitude of a leading chef. This charisma provides the aroma that will draw audiences in and eventually will win them over.

Wells also manages to portray a kitchen atmosphere with a well-crafted and stark accuracy. This includes the expected use of language and the proverbial sexual elements that may not appeal to some viewers, but these do not diminish the overall entertainment value. Like the lead character, Burnt has a subtle brilliance which includes some flaws, but shortcomings bring a bit more spice to what becomes a surprisingly enjoyable film.

In his journey through life, Adam Jones feels he has paid his penance and gotten his life back on track. But it takes time for others to forgive him for the pain he inflicted on their lives. As we all move along in life, redemption and forgiveness are things that all of us seek from those we are closest to. Within the storyline of Burnt, a key thread is that these essential components for human existence cannot be achieved without help from others.

This redemptive assistance can be found at the core of Christianity and can only be achieved through the help of God’s work in his Son.

Like Adam Jones, if redemption is something you seek, it can be found. We’ve just got to humbly ask God for his help in Jesus.

Leaving the cinema…

Honestly, like the superhero genre, the foodie fascination has begun to wear out its welcome. Burnt is an exception to this tiresome genre and does provide something new and fresh. It is a tasty morsel worth experiencing.

What are some of the bigger themes to consider from this film?

  1. What does the Bible say about redemption? (Ephesian 1:7, Galatians 2: 20)
  2. Can we ever find justice? (Proverbs 21:15, Romans 12:19)
  3. What does the Bible say about aspiring to leadership? (Jeremiah 29:11, John 16:33)

Russell Matthews works for City Bible Forum Sydney and is a film blogger


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