Movie Diary 9/24/2018

Blaze (Ethan Hawke, 2018). Musical biopic about Blaze Foley, who comes across in the movie as a self-destructive but poetic-souled artist. Unlike the trajectory of most such films, Foley never becomes a success, which gives the movie an interesting dramatic (or undramatic) twist. Hawke creates a lush-looking palette – this is a film of carefully chosen shots – even if the tone doesn’t always stay true. Also, watch the performance of Josh Hamilton, who does nonverbal things as Foley’s friend; he conveys a healthy skepticism about the bigger-than-life mythology that springs up around a figure like this. Some good people in the film, including Ben Dickey’s acting debut as Foley, Alia Shawkat, and Charlie Sexton, downright eerie as Townes Van Zandt. I keep telling people to see Hawke’s performance as Chet Baker in Born to Be Blue, which is not a great film but is a remarkable example of an actor “getting” an artist in a complete way, despite the difficulties that arist had with/created in the world. This is akin to that.

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