Burnt toast 

Written by Steven Knight and directed by John Wells, Burnt stars Bradley Cooper as Adam Jones, a once hot-shot chef who travels to London hoping to resuscitate the flourishing career his drinking, drug-taking and general assholery effectively killed back in Paris a few years earlier. 

Setting himself up as head chef in his friend Tony's (Daniel Bruhl) restaurant, Jones plans to wield his culinary skills to out-dazzle every other chef in the capital and in the process win the much-coveted third Michelin star that has eluded him all these years. Soon, with the pressure on to prove himself, no staff member is spared Jones' boot camp drill sergeant temper tantrums which involve a lot of screaming and the obligatory plate smashing. It's not hard to imagine that this is the sort of behaviour that may well have contributed to his career meltdown earlier and, in the absence of a course correction, it bodes ill for his current ambitious plans.


Though the time honored flawed-hero-seeking-redemption conceit sticks out like a sore thumb, Knight's screenplay offers not so much a new spin on the genre but more like a new angle on familiar narrative beats so its occasional diversions into cliche, evidenced by the constant close-ups of the mouth-watering dishes that pass from the kitchen to the diner, can easily be forgiven. Which is not to suggest that the film warrants an eight or nine star rating. Even a seven would probably be pushing it, but it's certainly not as bad as the naysayers have been suggesting.

Still looking bulked up after his work in Sniper, Cooper doesn't exactly look like any chef you would see  at some upmarket restaurant but he's an appealing actor whose undeniable charm imbues the film with an easy-going buoyancy. The supporting cast - Bruhl, Sienna Miller, Omar Sy and Emma Thompson - slip smoothly into Cooper's orbit and help to make this, at best, a pleasant hundred minute diversion.