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Empire | 'Born To Be Blue' Review

Empire

Ethan Hawke has been on quite the hot streak lately, and in Born To Be Blue he gives another first-class performance as legendary jazz trumpeter Chet Baker, a role he’d longed to play since he was a teenager. Eschewing the standard womb-to-tomb biopic model, writer-director Robert Budreau focusses on the troubled musician’s would-be comeback in the late ’60s, as he’s hired to play himself in a movie about his earlier years, this device offering a framework in which to examine the performer’s fall from grace. It’s an unflashy film more concerned with the smoke and shadows than the bright lights of success, offering an unvarnished portrait of Baker’s at times wince-making struggle with heroin addiction — a battle that would eventually contribute to his death, decimating his career and many of his closest relationships along the way.

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