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Blaze Blu-ray Review

Blaze.jpg

“Blaze” is a hit-and-miss biopic.

Directed by Ethan Hawke, “Blaze” is a biopic about the often forgotten but talented country musician Blaze Foley. The story weaves in and out of three different time periods- the freewheeling days with his lady love and eventual wife (an actress named Sybil) leading into his career as a singer, songwriter and guitar player, the final day of his life, and a posthumous era in which his bandmates talk about him on a radio show (there’s more shown than just that in this time period though).

Biopics are a dime a dozen these days, but writer/director Ethan Hawke (and writer Sybil Rosen who also penned the memoir the film is based on) deserve credit for a unique narrative. While it may take some time for the viewer to settle in to the storytelling style, it does refreshingly mix it up from the normal cliched biopic story. Seeing various stages of Blaze’s life mixed together gives the film an almost poetic feeling as it delves into the tragic life of the skilled but volatile and troubled Blaze who lost everything including his own life (although much of it was by his own doing to be sure).

As engaging as this biopic is, it’s not without its faults. Ethan Hawke certainly gets to flex his directing muscles more here and shows that he really has an eye for visuals and storytelling. At the same time, however, Hawke gets in his own way and gets a bit too artistic for his own good. Both the script and the film overstay their welcome as situations and content become all too repetitious in that the viewer is seeing one too many montages or scenes with Blaze rambling, wandering or flying off the handle. To say certain ideas and points are overstated is an understatement.

The cast is strong across the board here. The ever underrated Alia Shawkat gives one of the best performances of her career as Sybil. Ben Dickey (who plays the titular Blaze) really shines here in only his second film role. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a musician in his own right so he really excels in that department of the role as well. In terms of supporting roles, Charlie Sexton crushes it as Townes Van Zandt while Josh Hamilton makes an impression as Blaze’s friend and bandmate Zee. “Blaze” also boasts an impressive number of cameos and small roles from the likes of Sam Rockwell, Kris Kristofferson, Richard Linklater, Steve Zahn, Wyatt Russell, and Ethan Hawke himself as a DJ (although his face is never seen).

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.39:1 1080p beautifully shot film specific color scheme

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA mumble heavy crank up audio

Extras:
* IFC Film trailers and a “Blaze” trailer.
* A behind-the-scenes featurette containing interviews, set footage, discussions about how the project came about and the memoir, etc.
* A thoughtful solo commentary by Ethan Hawke.

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May 4, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , ,

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