Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Burnt (movie): Two Thumbs Down

Burnt couldn't be a more apt title for this movie.

Food, kitchen stories, and Bradley Cooper.  It sounds like the perfect recipe for two food writers to indulge in.

Let's talk about food porn, because really, that's half the juice of a restaurant movie. You hear the sizzle from the pan, you see the slice of freshly baked bread, glistening beef marbling, bright artichokes... Things that make you salivate in your movie seat. You can practically taste it. In the movie, Chef Adam Jones says he wanted to make diners stop and orgasm in their mouths.

But in Burnt, the dishes are redundant and are way too focused on the chef's halibut and steak dish that looks like it's from hotel fine dining circa 1990.  Not salivating nor admiring here.

The scenes were amateur, as if this was written with no real research and shitty character development.  Chefs in the trade do have meltdowns, and they can rage when their team isn't working up to snuff. In Burnt, however, it's not clear why Adam just walks into the kitchen flipping out at ... what exactly?  Unfortunately, his character development isn't particularly deep, so the viewer doesn't get a sense of empathy or deeper connection to his impression of Gordon Ramsay on Hell's Kitchen.

What was in this world-changing sauce that Sienna made?  Really - is that little cut of presenting a pan all you're going to give us?

I had it when the maitre'd had to explain to his professional front of house staff what the Michelin guide was.  You're telling me that polished waitstaff in an ultra fine dining restaurant IN FRANCE have never heard of this "Michelin Guide"?

Perhaps my companion and I were being too critical of the movie, as some of the other viewers who left the movie were quite satisfied with the course.  But in an age where kitchen life has become more mainstream in mass media, the team behind Burnt could have done a little bit more research on what actually goes on.


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