Eppler: "Blaze" is a Texas passion project

Eppler: "Blaze" is a Texas passion project

It's alright if you've never heard of Blaze Foley. Actually, it feels like writer and director Ethan Hawke is kinda counting on that because stories about struggle, failure and anonymity are sometimes more interesting than successes.

Hawke delivers a well-made film in telling the story of "Blaze," the outlaw Texas country and folk singer (Texas is played by Louisiana in the movie). While it covers well-traveled trails for this genre - a talented artist who is also their worst enemy - Hawke's approach is different, and often gutsy, especially in the casting of Ben Dickey in the lead - a musician who's never acted in a movie before, and he's fantastic.

But the MVP and heart of the movie is "Arrested Development's" Alia Shawkat as Sybil Rosen, Blaze's long-suffering wife. The movie is based on Rosen's memoir, and she wrote the movie with Hawke.

"Blaze" isn't so much about the man himself, although there's plenty to surmise for those who don't need spoon feeding. Hawke is more interested in what drives the artistic process of self discovery. It's all over the place at times, but there are some powerful scenes and the music is poetry.

EPPLER'S RATING: * * * 1/2


* * * * * Incredible - One of the best of the year
* * * * Excellent - Touches greatness with only minor quibbles
* * * Good - Plenty to like, definitely worth seeing
* * Mediocre - You can do better
* Awful  - The worst, an insult to movies


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