While the multimillion production Bohemian Rhapsody about musical legend Freddie Mercury was a highly popular choice amongst moviegoers last year, another small and intimate indie biopic made its way to the theatres: Ethan Hawke’s Blaze.
Seasoned actor turned director, Hawke (Boyhood, First Reformed) gets behind the camera to tell the story of country singer-songwriter Blaze Foley who remained relatively unknown outside of Texas until his death at 39. Blaze feels genuine, thanks to the performance of Ben Dickey, musician, first-time actor, and winner of a special jury prize at last year’s edition of Sundance. Hawke’s decision to offer the lead role to a musician rather than an experienced actor pays off as Dickey delivers a beautiful tribute to the work of Foley and proves to be a charismatic presence on screen. Opposite Dickey, in the role of Sybil Rosen, Foley’s wife and muse is Alia Shawkat (Green Room, Wild Canaries). Hawke wrote the script with the help of Rosen who published a book in 2008 about her life with Foley titled Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley.
Blaze relates the story of the singer from different points of views, through flashbacks and jumps in time. Although the plot is nothing but linear, Foley’s music guides us through the various chapters of his life. For his opera prima, Hawke went for an emotional and unconventional biopic on a cult artist, giving a voice to those like him who were talented and passionate, yet never made it big. Blaze‘s authenticity and heartfelt story were rewarded with various nominations at prestigious film festivals such as Locarno and Sundance.
2018: Sundance Film Festival: Special Jury Award (Ben Dickey)
Runtime: 127 min
Direction: Ethan Hawke
Screenplay: Ethan Hawke, Sybil Rosen
Cinematography: Steve Cosens
Cast: Ben Dickey, Alia Shawkat, Josh Hamilton
Language: 19:45 VOSE - 21:45 VOSC
Subtitles: Antti Savinen
Contact: Twelve Oaks Pictures