The most exhilirating experience I had in a cinema last year was when I saw a movie that was made when I was twelve; about a guy who seems to have treated everyone around him very badly indeed; but who managed to produce some of the most elegant and meditative music ever recorded.
Chet Baker, in ‘Let’s Get Lost’, Bruce Weber’s pseudo-documentary/pseudo-tragic-romance film, acts out the title, lives to excess, and then dies, just as the movie is being completed.
We see him behaving badly, playing his trumpet, behaving badly, looking amazing, behaving badly, driving down Sunset Boulevard, behaving badly, making cigarettes look far cooler than they should, behaving badly, and producing exquisite sounds that are the reason we wanted to see the movie in the first place.
It is, as I said, an exhilirating ride – the breeze hits Chet’s face from the front of his convertible, the pathos of his dysfunctional parenting hits us in the gut, the music beguiles us in the space between spaces, and we are confronted by the paradox of art: some people can make very beautiful things, but can’t get out of bed in the morning.
‘Let’s Get Lost’ gets its television premiere tonight on the Sundance Channel; and Weber’s newest short film ‘Liberty City is Like Paris to Me’ shows up online next week before Sundance screens it on the 27th August.