b e w a r e o f m r b a k e r
Holy Christ where do we start with this one? Deranged, genius, lunatic, horror of a jazz drummer lets slightly unhinged but very persistent film-maker / fan follow him around. Needless to say, bloodshed soon follows....
broken shark struggles to review Beware of Mr. Baker with any objectivity because the screening we went to involved an audience full of Ginger Baker fans with a pretty good smattering of Ginger Baker relatives. Which is pretty much as polar as two extremes can be. It also involved a Q&A session with the legend himself and the movie's outgoing writer / director Jay Bulger. It's fair to say this was one of our more extraordinary experiences at the cinema. We will, however, do our absolute best to review the film by itself.
Pretty much one fan's mission to utterly confirm, once and for all, that you should never meet your heroes. The film opens with Baker threatening to kill Bulger and breaking his nose with a cane. As openings go, it's pretty impressive. The film then rewinds and blasts through Baker's career, families, bands and so many fights.
Bulger uses a combination of interviews filmed over a couple of years with him asking questions that generally seem to irritate the shit out of his subject but to his credit, he just ploughs on. And that really should be credit with a capital C. Baker is not an easy subject and to be honest, doesn't come across as a particularly nice person. But he is always, always fascinating to watch. In many ways Baker comes across as the typical artist - destructive and seductive in equal measures, driving his jazz-drumming bus through anything and anyone who gets in his way. Including himself.
This isn't a film that's going to find an audience anytime soon - at the time of writing it has no UK release date and the IMDB stats for box office show it has made $53,371. This is a shame because for anyone even remotely interested in drums, jazz or rock music should watch this. Both as a cautionary tale of what can happen if you are such a destructive force and a recommendation of what you can achieve if you're such a destructive force.
UPDATE: Beware of Mr. Baker is to be released in the UK on 17th May 2013. This is a good thing.