If you had asked me just a few months ago what I knew about singer/songwriter Blaze Foley I would have told you nothing at all. I am not alone in this as there are a great many people who may not realize who Blaze Foley was and the underground following he had, however, thanks to the new film Blaze, from writer/Director Ethan Hawke, the world will get a glimpse into the life of a man of legend.
The film Blaze is based on the memoir of Blaze's wife/lover Sybil Rosen who not only on-set providing creative input on the movie, but also stars in the film briefly as well. The movie plays out more like the tragic love story of two people who seem so right for each other, but at the end of the day life just had other plans. Audiences will see Blaze's life show through various flashbacks and through the storytelling of friends that knew him well, primarily Townes Van Zant (played by Charlie Sexton). Taking on the title role of Blaze is newcomer Ben Dickey who will absolutely blow your mind as our troubled star. Ben himself is a singer/songwriter so he brings an entirely new level of authenticity to this role that you may not have had from someone without a musical background. Alia Shawkat plays Sybil Rosen and she is wonderful in every scene she is a part of. She brings the sobering balance the film needs. We see the chaos that is Blaze and the stability that is Sybil and on the screen, they play out like two sides of the same coin.
I am not sure what it was about this tragically beautiful story that hit me the way it did, but I enjoyed every minute of it. It is refreshing to see a musical biopic for the everyday man. Much like the film creators have said, there are hundreds of Blaze Foley's in the music world that we never hear about and it is not because they are not talented enough to earn our attention, but because they may not have had the same lucky breaks other artists have had that pushed their stars into the spotlight. This film showcases a country/folk artist that is worth lending your ear to.
From the fantastic acting of the cast to the well-written story of the films creative team these movies slow burn is done to perfection. You will laugh, possibly, cry, and be moved to watch these events unfold on the big screen. I have to say a big thank you to everyone involved in helping me learn about a figure in Texas music history that I did not know before, but now I am glad that I do. We scored this movie with an A+. You can get the chance to check out the story of Blaze Foley yourself when the film hits theaters in Texas August 24th. So sit back, relax, and be ready to immerse yourself in the crazy and charming life of Blaze.
Blaze opens in Houston August 24th.
Ben Dickey, HFF Ray, & Ethan Hawke