Ethan Hawke effortlessly steps behind the camera for this unorthodox dramatisation of the remarkable life of burly singer-songwriter Blaze Foley, unsung legend of the outlaw country music movement. Eschewing traditional music biopic tropes for a more unconventional approach, Hawke cannily presents Foley’s desultory life through cut-up timelines that offer flashbacks within flashbacks, braiding together re-imagined versions of Blaze’s past, present and future. The different strands explore his love affair with Sybil Rosen, his last dark night on earth, and the impact of his songs and his death on those closest to him (namely Townes van Zandt, and folk legend Zee). With rock-solid turns from Alia Shawkat, Sam Rockwell and newcomer Benjamin Dickey — who fills the title role with appropriate gusto and panache — Blaze is an intelligent and loving film, destined to become a stone-cold classic of independent cinema.
“Ethan Hawke’s high-wire biopic tells the story of country blues singer Blaze Foley in a redneck-verité style that’s as delicate as it is daring... Hawke has made the ultimate hipster movie. That’s a recommendation.”