Just when you thought there isn’t room for another movie about a music legend, BORN TO BE BLUE comes out. The Robert Budreau-directed film about jazz trumpeter Chet Baker is a music biopic that is fine, but forgettable.
The film, which was also penned by Budreau, follows Chet’s comeback in the ’60s after having some major issues with drug addiction, the law, womanizing, and all the template problems associated with a music icon’s life. Like Miles Ahead, there are many parts of the film that are fictionalized. For instance, if you try to look up information on his girlfriend actress Jane (who is played by the talented Carmen Ejogo), you probably won’t find anything because she didn’t really exist. Considering she didn’t exist, that means they never lived in a van on the beach together.
Apparently, Born to be Blue is supposed to be a creative re-imagining of this part of Chet’s life. That’s the problem. Why re-imagine real life? There’s a lot of visual fluff and attempts at fresh storytelling, but the movie plays like a color-by-number music biopic rather than an inventive way of story telling. When a filmmaker tries to fictionalize a true story, it comes off as self-indulgent. Audiences want to see true stories, not what the director wishes would have happened.
Hawke was clearly committed at playing the legedary trumpeter and Ejogo shined as his independent-thinking partner, but there still wasn’t enough to make this film interesting — and that is a shame because the director could have picked a more cinematically satisfying part of Chet Baker’s amazing life to reimagine.
Whether or not it was a coincidence that this came out around the same time as Miles Ahead (Miles appears in the film), I think its safe to say that the world is OK without seeing another music biopic for the rest of the year.
Dino-Ray Ramos watches too much TV and laughs inappropriately during dramatic films. He’s a fan of comedy, podcasts, and comedy podcasts. He’s a reformed comic book geek and thinks “The Goonies” is the best movie of all time. When he isn’t stuffing his face with a burrito, he’s thinking about his next trip to Disneyland.
Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer