The epitome of 1950s cool, jazz legend Chet Baker (Ethan Hawke) seemed to have it all.
Baker had the looks of a James Dean, a heartbreakingly wistful tenor voice and a silvery trumpet – but he was also an irredeemable heroin addict.
This impressionistic biopic charts the highs and (mostly) lows of Baker’s career, with Hawke capturing the musician in all his touchingly vulnerable and maddeningly self-destructive moods.
Canadian writer-director Robert Budreau improvises around some of the key events in his subject’s life, giving us glimpses of his 1950s heyday, but mostly concentrating on his turbulent 1960s.
Back then, Baker’s life and career could have gone either way, Budreau conjectures, inventing the composite figure of Carmen Ejogo’s loyal actress girlfriend to suggest a possible alternative for Baker to heroin’s fatal allure.