Following last year’s middling Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead comes the story of Davis’ main competitor in the jazz polls, Chet Baker. Born to be Blue fictionalises a period of the trumpeter’s life in the 1960s and, for the most part, hits the right notes. This bittersweet portrait of “the James Dean of jazz” commendably refuses to canonise its subject, and frequently soars thanks to its inventive structure and a terrific turn from Ethan Hawke. His portrayal of the musical legend’s tormented relationship with the Big H, and his self-destructive attempts to kick the habit, are beyond reproach. Meanwhile writer/director Robert Budreau confidently explores the relationship between addiction and artistic inspiration, and the impossibility of rekindling a past that has been made mythical.
Born to Be Blue | Directed by Robert Budreau (Canada 2015) with Ethan Hawke, Carmen Ejogo. Starts June 8.
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