Calling this a musician biopic is misleading because it's tragic power resides in it being a study of addiction and an investigation of that tricky notion if drugs really do unlock the potential in an artist or are just another wall of illusion.
I really wanted to love this film, and while I wasn't overwhelmed, Ethan Hawke certainly gives a superb performance as Chet Baker. He nails the jazz legend's physical and emotional frailty. Some portions of the film feel flat despite the narrative and cinematic risks taken by director Robert Budreau, but the on-screen magic between Hawke and Carmen Ejogo overshadows those fleeting moments.
Ethan Hawke gives what might be a career best performance as musician Chet Baker in this novel magnificent picture. Baker's tale of addiction, reinvention and musical innovation is well told here especially in his relationship with Jane played with gusto by Carmen Ejogo. Shot mostly in Sudbury, Ontario the period is well captured with strong character turns by a Canadian cast. Of note is Kedar Brown as Miles Davis.
Notable performances & striking content is underserved by a meandering, overly fictitious narrative set to dramatize a particular event. Leaves much to be desired, though what it offers is rather impressive.
69/100 - Decent (2.5)
Once the film shakes off its clunky first act, Ethan Hawke and Carmen Ejogo get to delve deep into their characters and that’s where the jazz emerges and starts involving the audiences in the hues of blue that defined Baker.