CHEF – Finally, Some Damned Filmmaking

CHEF (2014)

Finally, some damn filmmaking.

Not a trace of faux-tension-artificial-energy-handheld-shaky-cam nonsense. Good solid directing and cinematography. Solid and steady editing – breezy, even. No quick-cuts, no jarring camera movement, it didn’t need it. It had a story, it had characters, it had performances. It had some directing and photography, remember those?

Not a trace of artificial-atonal-semi-melodic-canned-orchestral score telling the audience what emotions to conjure. It didn’t need swelling instruments from some cinematic nether world to tell us to feel excited, surprised, disappointed, or heartbroken. It didn’t need music beats to tell us when to laugh or feel relieved. It was all on the screen and in the world of the characters on that screen.

A real love letter –
to food and the people who work hard to make it excellent
to writers, directors, actors, and everyone who works in film.
to being a craftsman and an artist.

“I put my life into this, you piece of shit!” – Chef says to a jaded-always-and-ever-consuming food critic.

And I don’t know if that’s completely true for every movie that’s made, but I know it’s not completely un-true, either. Even so-called action-schlock has some blood, sweat, and tears put into it.

Or maybe that’s the audience.

But here, with this film, it’s obvious Jon Favreau did put his life into this little movie. It even looked like people had fun making it. Imagine that.

You can get the store-bought or you can make it your own.

You can get the so-so-over-used shaky cam, the blue-orange color timing, the damn quick-cutting editing, and the overwhelmingly insidious canned orchestral score – or you can get some damn filmmaking.

“Just cook what’s on the menu! We have a full house! I pay your salary!” Chef is told by a bean-counting owner.

Did someone tell Jon to “Just make some more of these superhero movies! We could make a billion dollars! Why are you wasting time with this?” Maybe, maybe not. But he made this little film, anyway.

It’s the feel-good culinary-themed movie of the summer.

Thank you, Chef.

And thank you Jon.

Maybe it’s even a love letter to those who like to see some damned filmmaking when they go to see a film.


Chef (2014)
Written, Directed, and Produced by Jon Favreau.
Rotten Tomatoes 

CHEF  One Sheet

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