Born to be Blue (2015)

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Born to be Blue: Directed by Robert Budreau. With Ethan Hawke, Carmen Ejogo, Callum Keith Rennie, Tony Nappo. A re-imagining of jazz legend Chet Baker’s musical comeback in the late ’60s.

“u0026quot;Born To Be Blueu0026quot; (2015 release; 97 min.) is a movie about jazz legend Chet Baker. As the film opens, we are in u0026quot;Lucca, Italy, 1966u0026quot; and baker is in prison, only to be bailed out by a Hollywood director. When then go to u0026quot;Birdland, New York City, 1954u0026quot; when Baker is at the peak of his fame and fortune, only to be exposed to heroin by a femme fatale. As it turns out, we then understand that this entire sequence was reenacted back in u0026quot;Los Angeles, 1966u0026quot; with Baker, now on the com-back trail, starring in his own movie. Alas, misfortune strikes again, as Baker is viciously assaulted, to such a degree that he cannot play the trumpet anymore. Now he faces even longer odds to come back. At this point we are 15 min. into the movie but to tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, youu0026#39;ll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eCouple of comments: the movie does not tell us that this is a u0026quot;true storyu0026quot; or u0026quot;inspired by true eventsu0026quot;, and for good reason, as this is NOT a bio-pic in any way, shape or form about Chet Baker. Instead, the movie brings a fictionalized composite of certain elements and episodes of Bakeru0026#39;s life. Canadian writer-director Robert Budreau makes this into his own cocktail mix, and the end result is quite good, and certainly entertaining. That said, the movie would not have succeeded if it werenu0026#39;t for the outstanding performance by Ethan Hawke as Chet Baker, I mean, Hawke nails it. Kudos also to Carmen Ejogo as Bakeru0026#39;s love interest Jane (who is African-American). There are a number of key scenes in the movie. One that stands out for me is when Baker and Jane visit Bakeru0026#39;s parents in Oklahoma. At one point, the less than friendly (and outright racist) Bakeru0026#39;s dad sneers u0026quot;I never dragged the Baker name through the mudu0026quot;, to which a stunned Baker has no reply, and simply walks away (and leaves for good), wow. If there is one criticism of the movie, I felt that the music was not given a full enough role. There are long stretches in the film where music seems to be an afterthought. Given Bakeru0026#39;s fierce love for music, music should never be an afterthought when looking at Bakeru0026#39;s life.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eu0026quot;Born To Be Blueu0026quot; premiered to great acclaim at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, but despite that only got a very limited theater release in the US (it never made it to my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati). So glad I finally picked this up as a DVD. A comparison between this movie and last yearu0026#39;s u0026quot;Miles Aheadu0026quot; (about jazz legend Miles Davis) is inevitable. I found both movies are quite well done, each in their own way. If you liked u0026quot;Miles Aheadu0026quot;, you are bound to also like u0026quot;Born To Be Blueu0026quot;, and vice versa. Bottom line: u0026quot;Born to be Blueu0026quot; is worth checking out, be it on Amazon Instant Video or on DVD/Blu-ray.”


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