Burnt Blu-ray Review
Food is a common element that brings mankind together, though not many of us are fortunate enough to partake in many of the delicacies that are available. However, whether you are able to eat daily at a five-star café or prefer the greasy taste of a fast food burger, there is usually a curiosity about what goes on behind the scenes of your favorite foody haunt. BURNT gives us a glance into the world of the fast-paced restaurant industry, and what you find there may or may not surprise you.
BURNT follows Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper), a once famous Parisian chef who crashed and burned after a bout with drugs, alcohol and cooking. We catch up with him as he is finishing his self-imposed “sentence” of shucking one million oysters and ready to jump back into the kitchen as head chef. Upon deciding that he is going to take London by storm, he gathers former colleagues and friends to help him go after his third Michelin star. As he develops his kitchen and restaurant, he learns that doing it alone is a sad and isolating path and sometimes you need friends to help you reach your true potential.
As in all films he’s starred in, Bradley Cooper is phenomenal in BURNT. Seeing him as a raging chef was not so hard to imagine, but there was one scene in the film that had him cursing his employees and throwing plates of food across the room that was so out of character from what we are used to that it was truly uncomfortable to watch. This film sat with me for a couple of days until I realized that there are few films that I’ve come across that made me feel such a visceral emotion like that. That feeling is what sold me on this film, because although it is easy to imagine such incidents happening in restaurant kitchens across the world, actually seeing it on film was hard to watch. After all, the reaction was due to food not being exactly as Jones had wanted, which when you think about it is a little absurd considering some of the nasty things we consume on a daily basis. But that scene set the tone for how obsessed Jones was and how he didn’t yet understand how to achieve perfection with a team of people.
BURNT is a fascinating study in character development, but some other aspects of the film didn’t excel in the same way. Though food is an extremely interesting subject to film, and watching a restaurant getting ready for a big review is an intriguing topic, the focus of these things throughout the film was a bit distracting when we were trying to follow the inner workings of Jones’ mind as he was trying to achieve his goal. The shots of the food and inner workings of the restaurant just took the audience out of the character development enough to remind the audience how tough the restaurant business is, which wasn’t entirely necessary. Director John Wells also got a little out of hand with the filming of the actual cooking, which again took the audience out of the film.
Surprisingly, BURNT bombed at the box office, brining in just over $13.5 million, so this will go down as another miss for Bradley Cooper, right on the heels of the atrocious ALOHA. But the difference between this and ALOHA is that this is actually a really good film and Cooper knocks it out of the park. Hopefully, it will find a life on home video.
Video: I was ready to praise BURNT’s video quality, but there was a scene about halfway through the film that was completely out of focus (unintentionally). It was obviously a problem with the transfer and I know it’s petty to slam a transfer for one bad scene, but there’s really no excuse for it.
Audio: The audio was fine.
Commentary with John Wells and Marcus Wareing: The director and the chef consultant talk about the technical aspects of making the film, the importance of getting the food right and the preparation the cast went through. Overall, this was a good track, but I know the production had a lot of problems and I would have liked to get some insight on how they actually got the film made.
Deleted Scenes (10:01): You can view these with optional commentary from John Wells. There’s nothing here that stood out to me and all of them felt like pacing issues.
Burnt: In the Kitchen with Bradley Cooper (23:50): The title is a little misleading since it’s more of a general making-of featurette. It seems the cast had fun with BURNT and it shows through in this featurete.
Q&A Highlights (23:44): The cast did several Q&A’s in late 2015 and these are the highlights.