René Redzepi plays with wilderness and interprets a forgotten edible world into a language we all understand. Noma, My Perfect Storm is a creative journey into the mind of René Redzepi.
His story has the feel of a classic fairy tale: the ugly duckling transformed into a majestic swan, who now reigns over the realm of modern gourmet cuisine. But beneath the polished surface, cracks appear in the form of old wounds. 2013 stands as the worst year in René Redzepi’s career. Noma: The Perfect Storm documentary follows Redzepi as he fights his way back to the top, reinventing NOMA and reclaiming the title of best restaurant in the world in 2014 for the fourth time.
Like so many Danish documentaries, this study of the Copenhagen restaurant Noma displays, like the cooking itself, an exceptional level of craftsmanship and good taste. However, as a piece of film-making it’s more conventional than the food featured, made under the supervision of executive chef René Redzepi, whose voiced-over humble-bragging about his achievements is like a cloying sauce that overpowers a dish. The individual plates of food, shot in loving closeup, look so inviting and delicious you may want to lick the screen; they even get their own credit block at the end (“Yeast caramel with skyr”), like soundtrack items or excerpts from poems or films. That at least may be a cinematic first. But ultimately this feels a bit too much like one long advertisement for the restaurant and misses an opportunity to develop a more probing thesis on, say, the foraging movement or the catering industry’s dysfunctional obsession with Michelin stars and the 50-best list Noma has topped several times.
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