even Miles would applaud for this movie! (by Quinoa1984)
I wouldn't go as far as to say that Ethan Hawke was "born" to play Chet Baker no pun intended to the title , but this is the kind of performance that tends to be talked about for years to come. There's no front put up between him and the audience, and despite the vocal change to be a little more hoarse or whispery or however it was that Baker was naturally from his Oklahoma-cum-cigarette-strewn roots, it feels as if Hawke has slipped into Baker's shoes from the outset and that he just IS him. And though it's mostly set in the time period where Baker bottomed out the <more>
hardest - getting his teeth knocked out by a dealer while shooting a movie featuring himself as his own character in the 'Chet Baker Story - with those scenes from the movie in the movie whether they were filmed or just imagined by Baker from the script written for him Hawke gets to play multiple time periods and not in a typical bio-pic format.As an actor he gets to have such a complex, vulnerable person to slip into, and at first I wasn't sure how he would do. I think Hawke's a terrific actor, though a lot of the time it seems as if it's just Hawke as... Ethan Hawke on screen, with some exceptions like Gattaca , and even in the 'Before' films it seems just like it's this cool guy getting in front of the camera. It seems like a lot to keep harping on the lead performance like it means everything but in this case it kind of does - there's no Giamatti or Elizabeth Banks like in last year's Love & Mercy, and also the filmmaker behind this, Robert Budreau, is not making filming it quite like the standard bio-pic: long takes where the actor also co-star Carmen Ejogo for most of it has to keep our attention while playing a famous musician who was not someone with a presence off-stage that was immediately compelling.There's a lot to dig in to here thematically, whether it's drugs or race Baker being the 'white boy' among the black giants like Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, the former doesn't take too kindly to Baker in the 50's prime by the way , but while watching the movie you don't need to think about that. It's simply about this man who has his own way of going about things, is gentle in his way, and yet there's an intensity, bordering on a rage, that makes him compelling. Is it about addiction as much as the Eastwood Charlie Parker movie Bird ? Yes and no - yes in that it's always there, as it is for all addicts, and when a scene like after he plays a show at the local bar where he's trying to rebuild his trumpet playing skills and a 'fan' slips him some dope to which he responds "I thought you were a nice girl" , it seems hard not to sort of feel sorry for Baker that he's in a world where it's almost expected, in a way, for the Jazz heroes to be stone-cold junkies.But no in that it's primarily a love story, which is where the chemistry between Hawke and Ejogo is especially crucial and, in this case, kind of strange and awesome in the approach. Many times you simply see a famous musician or actor or whoever in a movie meet a girl and fall in love and they have the ups and downs Ray and Walk the Line are little else if not that , but here the twist is that Baker meets his love interest as she is playing his *former* lover in the movie-that-didn't-finish in the 1950's. It's a meta touch, but it's not to the point where the director takes us out of the film to any annoying degree; it's cleverly done in the opening 10/15 minutes where we think, the audience trained on clichés of biopics, that we're seeing a black-and-white flashback of this jazz-man's story of playing in Birdland and doing such things as the "first time" on heroin with some local girl. The trick is that Baker is always Baker, whether it's in the 'real life' of the movie or the movie within the movie, it's all a movie, after all! It helps that the music is wonderful, and that's not something that is incidental; I have no idea if Hawke is playing the trumpet he likely isn't, a handful of actors play their own stuff, let alone well, in these movies , but he does have to sing, and it's remarkable work on songs that require a thin line to walk on. Baker wasn't that phenomenal a singer except in the aspect of ripping-off-skin-to-see-the-insides honesty. It hurts to see Baker sing, and to see Hawke sing as him, and all the more that they're tender love songs. It doesn't necessarily come right away either, as the first passion for this man was the trumpet. Whether he comes to it by himself is something the movie leaves out though I could surmise it was organic , but the point is that by the time the last third comes we've seen this man live a real life, which is all that Miles Davis asked for anyway.A sincere, heart-breaking and simultaneously uplifting movie that is just a drama about a man working his art among the giants always in his mind or in front of him , and a true-life story second. That it involves one of the coolest of his form is a bonus, and with an actor delivering a career-highlight work as well.
Holy Chet! The Chet Baker biopic "Born to Be Blue" was a whopper of a film. Its suave style is reminiscent of another Baker jazzy film, which is the classic "The Fabulous Baker Boys". Chet Baker was a renowned trumpeter and jazz legend who had a near lifelong addiction to heroin. "Born to Be Blue" focuses on Baker in his 40's. His career has gone down the tubes, he gets brutally beaten by some drug dealers, and he cannot play his trumpet due to his injuries to his mouth. Baker then meets a beautiful aspiring actress named Jane who plays as an inspiration for <more>
Chet to get sober and make a jazzy comeback. Writer-Director Robert Budreau plays all the right tones in his direction and screenplay of the picture. Steve Cosens' cinematography was a picturesque mastery that should get him many encores to work in other movies. Ethan Hawke does not blow it at all as Baker; in fact, his Baker Act is the best performance of his illustrious career. His work as Baker is born to be an Oscar. Carmen Ejogo was sweet music to my ears in her performance as both Jane and Baker's ex-wife Elaine who was shown in flashbacks. Callum Keith Rennie manages to do some fine work as Baker's longtime manager Dick. The music of "Born to Be Blue" was a grand piece of Chet. I have no doubt that this movie will be in my Top 10 or even 5 of my favorite films of 2016. I was absolutely enamored with this stupendous movie! True "Born to Be Blue", baby I love you! ***** Excellent
Some mere clanging cymbal, this thing sure ain't. Basquiat is one of those rare biopics for me, that's not just wonderful - but one of the best things I've ever seen. And this reaches damn near those same heights. Perhaps even more unwaveringly so. With every scene, every glance, every breath, every choice - seeming to BOTH accentuate the ultimate point AND itself be chock-full of genuinely felt, thought-out, inspired substance.Constituting a vivid, piercing reminder--after all the great filmmaking I've come across this year--just what a chasm there is between an excellent <more>
Ethan Hawke as Chet Baker is giving us a characterization of Chet Baker not as the person but surely as what it felt like to be Chet Baker. It is Chet Baker trying to understand himself and how his music was a projection of himself to which he was always striving to make more perfect. No human can do this therefore the heroin was an escape from himself.Carmen Ejogo positively shines as the two women in his life. As his girlfriend Elaine she tries to bring some sense of balance and grounding into his mixed-up life and realizes late into their loveship she will always be second to his music and <more>
drugs.This story is fascinating and painful. And this is where the viewer may experience compassion burnout because Baker is forever making the same mistakes. He cannot see this but you the viewer will see it and by movies end you just do not care anymore. Everything about this movie is right but by the end you are just at the point of being bored!Still this is a film worth every minute of viewing time.
Mind's a prison and soul's the captive (by organicsocial)
Ethan Hawke is my favorite actor and I make it a point never to miss his movies. Just for that reason I know about 'Born to be Blue'. Where I live, this movie will never get screened in a movie hall, I'll never find a DVD and it will probably rarely be ever shown on TV. I guess even in Canada Chet Baker's home country , not many have seen it yet. Such is the low profile of Ethan Hawke's art cinema role preferences that most of the times people come to know about these movies long after they are released. That trend is in-fact exemplified by this semi-fictional biopic about <more>
Chet Baker, the prolific jazz trumpeter, heroin addict and a free spirit.The story is a bit of a noir mixed with real life incidents. It plays like a heroin fueled jazz improvisio. Chet Baker, the artist on whose life it is based on, was a bit of an enigma himself. Starting way back in the heydays of jazz, Chet was a white artist making his mark in the black dominated music scene. Estranged from his father and addicted to substance abuse, he was on a lookout for love that was always around the corner but never enough. A typical self destructive musician. The biggest crest in the plot comes in the form of actual physical harm. Details are unclear but some rivalries lead to him getting beaten up and losing his ability to play the trumpet. We see a lot of movies about 'comebacks' but this one is real. It is not just about overcoming defeat or depression. It is about finding yourself being propelled by passion and passion alone to achieve something impossible.Ethan Hawke has done it again! Ever since Gattaca, I have found his performance mesmerizing. As Chet Baker, he embodies the pain and madness of a jazz artist so brilliantly that you would forget the flaws of the person and start loving him for what he is. Oh! and Hawke sings in his own voice in two of the songs. Soundtrack of the movie consists of some of the best Jazz standards and songs performed by David Braid. So, if you're a jazz aficionado then you should not miss it for the world. Carmen Ejogo is a fresh face from England and plays the persistent love interest of Chet in the film. This is her first performance that I've come across and she is scintillating. To say that her role is split in two parts is enough preview without spoiling the rest. I implore you to go watch this film. Go with a lover if you can because it is about heartbreaks more than personal struggles.
This film, partly biography, partly fiction, is a dreamy portrayal of Chets struggle to stay clean and get back to the top after losing his teeth in a fight and not being able to play anymore. There's a lot of romance in here, but not in a corny way. Romantic love helps him stay clean, switching from one kind of high to another.The cinematography is beautiful, as well as the set dressing which gives the movie a nice sixties feel. The music is great, as it should be. I love the fact that Ethan sings the songs, it shows great bravery and contributes a lot to the feeling of the struggling <more>
artist. He captures the Chet-haze almost perfectly. Being an admirer of Chet Baker and Ethan Hawke I'd been looking forward to 'Born to be Blue' for a long time. It took me a while before I could finally see it, but it was worth the wait and I will certainly watch it over and over.
The overall production was stellar.Ethan Hawke gives a honest performance that showcase his most endearing qualities as a fine thespian. His portrait of Chet Baker is impressive. Hawke and Cameron Ejogo who played his girlfriend in the film had a lot of chemistry between the two of them, which is good because the movie centers on the both of them greatly. I herd her role is more of a mixture of many women Chet seem to be able to pull down, which only makes her performance more important, as she goes from being a coworker in a movie about his life to his love interest, the mother of his child, <more>
and most importantly the muse the keeps him going and inspires him to kick his drug habit in order to get better and play better.The imagery of the film was great, it was not too colorful but gave a bright California vibe known in 1960s movies.And it was a well told story about about drug addiction. It was not one of these things where you should feel super sad for the person cause he can't stay off the stuff. It was a honest look about an insure man who could not function properly without heroin in his system. Truly a masterpiece in cinema when you can tell a fantastic and interesting story in a motion picture that does not to use Hollywood clichés in it. I loved it.
Ethan Hawke is Amazing, as is Everything in Between (by SquigglyCrunch)
Born to be Blue follows famed jazz musician Chet Baker as he struggles with both losing and attempting to regain his ability to play the trumpet, as well as quitting his addiction to heroin. Ethan Hawke plays Chet Baker, and I was a little unsure as to what I'd think. I haven't been terribly impressed by Hawke, despite liking him in his movies. He hasn't blown me away with anything. That is, until this movie. He's pretty great. He fits the character perfectly as this rough-around-the-edges but still used to the wealthy lifestyle which he has and a little naive because of it <more>
kind of guy. One would think that the higher tone of voice he uses for this role might be annoying, but it really isn't. Plus he just looks the part. He was perfect in every way for this film and his character. This is a movie about a famous jazz musician, so we can assume that the soundtrack will be good. And it certainly is. Not much to say there, but it's great. The fact that Hawke even sang all of it is even more impressive on his part. He's got a great voice for the part too, and I'll definitely be listening to this soundtrack in the future. The flashback sequences were pretty cool. Normally filters placed over a scene bother me, but in this case it worked really well. That, and the fact that it isn't the whole movie placed under a filter. Plus, the filter is just really cool. It suits the movie with it's black and white look with a tint of blue. It looks like a flashback, but it has this dark liveliness to it, similarly to how Baker's life was portrayed. Furthermore, the movie decides to use the same actress as his lover for both the flashbacks and the present for reasons that I won't spoil. But trust me, it was a interesting decision and it worked. And the climax, or more just the whole last twenty or so minutes, are amazing. They are easily the best part of the movie. There's an excellent scene right before the climax itself involving a decision Baker has to make, and it's so good. Of course, Hawke continues to tell us how great he is in this role. Then the climax itself starts and it's great. And as it comes to a close it wraps itself up in a way that we don't see often. It's a realistic, unconventional way of doing it that I figure is the truth. As far as biographies go, we don't see a lot of them where the ending isn't all good and happy. Born to be Blue is one of those rare movies that has the balls to tell an honest story with an honest ending, and I loved it. Right down to how certain small elements were handled were just on point. If I can find any real error in this movie its the fact that the general plot of some skilled person hitting rock bottom and working their way back up has been used many times. However, the presentation is all that really matters in a case like this, and I thought it was pretty great. On top of that the movie is, despite being only 97 minutes long a little slow. Maybe I expected it to fly by because of how much shorter it is than some other movies, but I thought it dragged just a little from time to time. Overall Born to be Blue is pretty fantastic. The acting, specifically from Ethan Hawke is great, the music is great, the climax is fantastic, and it all around nailed it's presentation of an otherwise unoriginal idea. This is one of the best movies of the year and I would definitely recommend checking it out.
Bluer than you probably imagine, but still great (by guitaramore)
This movie's about a fellow battling some personal demons. We never really get a good feeling about his chances to win. We keep rooting for him anyhow.It really snuck up on me. I was repulsed by some of the repulsive scenes, but didn't notice how subtle yet effective the love story was until the tragic end, when it pretty much broke my heart, darn it.Ethan Hawke plays Chet Baker, a jazz trumpeter who achieved 40's and 50's popularity by playing music that sounded like a beautiful dream. His own life was nightmare: wandering into heroin addiction, an anchor that never stops <more>
dragging him down.Carmen Ejogo plays Jane, who fights the battle with him when he needs to kick it to make a comeback. She temporarily derails her own life trying to straighten out his.The movie is very well made, letting us fill in blanks. Like why does Ejogo gets involved with him in the first place. That led me to wonder why there's always someone like her around trying to pull someone like him out of their self-made quicksand. It becomes a kind of meditation on love and addiction, and when the line between the two gets blurred. These two characters may have a lot more in common than they realize.The final scene between the two is very powerful. I was stunned by the acting. Ejogo doesn't even speak. It's too bad it's such a sad movie, otherwise it might be getting some Oscar nods.Not for kiddies or when you want something cheerful, but if everyone in the room's a grownup and you don't mind something tough, it's a great movie.