Directed by the most unlikely of candidates John Wells whom is most well known for his TV series Shameless. I have to say he has made a worthy effort here. He has managed to capture the brutal, intimidating and fiery environment of a Michelin starred kitchen perfectly in this movie, delivering the Gordon Ramsey vibe sublimely… ‘It’s f*****g raw!’. Often dry and with little substance, movies of the culinary sort usually lack depth, to put it mildly. But this movie gives you a lot of breathing space to understand who and what the characters are all about. Not only that but this is one of the first movies I have seen that has genuinely tried to tackle the obsessive mind of a chef and their yearning for perfection.
Plot and opinions
Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper), a recovering alcoholic and drug addict is trying to get his act back together to prove his worth in the restaurant business and gain his three michelin stars. After much persuasion his rather reluctant former maitre d’, Tony (Daniel Brühl) hires him. Adam then promises said former maitre d’ that he will assemble the best chefs he has previously worked with to reach perfection.
Upon this magnificent seven like assembling of chefs we come across Helene (Sienna Miller), who is the main supporting character. Kids flirting on steroids is the only way I can describe the relationship between Adam and Helene. As, instead
of pulling at her pigtails he physically assaults her during
service to prove a point, yet clearly having affections towards her. Cementing how truly dysfunctional Adam is as a character, as his inability to share emotion is very apparent.
Character exploration (besides the leading) and extensive screen time was tried through Adams doctor (Emma Thompson) to help him battle his demons during the movie, but I have to say it bluntly, she added nothing. There were however shimmers of light coming from some of the kitchen staff during certain scenes, only to be ignored for the rest of the movie once they were semi-established. It was a shame that these characters were not explored further, to add even more purposeful layers to the movie. Therefore it almost felt like a one or two person show at times, with Adam spearheading it in his search for perfection. But maybe the unnecessary character development would have merely detract from the heart of the movie, after all too many cooks spoil the broth…
Bradley Cooper as Adam jones: For large parts of the movie Adams cold exterior in a tunnel like state of mind for success takes precedence. Though from that, it is interesting to see how his character develops as his barriers are softened and start to come down. Bradley convincingly proves throughout the movie that he can convey the complexity and depth of his character very well. Especially due to the fact that there has not been a particularly strong performance previously for a model by any actor in a culinary role in my eye’s.
In all honesty I did enjoy this movie. It was refreshing to watch a drama that has a different theme, compared to a lot of the predominantly regurgitated content we have gotten lately. Although the premise (in that a chef wants to get three Michelin stars) and some of the characters are to some extent basic, it was executed quite nicely. Some nice onscreen relationships, coupled with an unforced and natural plot made the perfect recipe! 7/10