Shot in a bracing black and white that evokes the 1950s jazz era in which Baker was a prince among the cats, the film suits its subject by having Weber, the legendary fashion photographer, as its director.
When he was discovered, Baker was as famous for his matinee idol good looks as he was for his horn playing.
Weber cannily uses many of the photo sheets taken during those early recording sessions.
Baker looks like a young James Dean, and these white-hot stills are shot with Weber’s ever-fluid camera in motion.
However, by the time this film was shot, Baker’s good looks were long gone due to a life shockingly squandered to heroin addiction.
The ravages of this lifestyle are etched deep in Baker’s face like a ritual carving. Baker is 57 when “Let’s Get Lost” was shot, but he looks at least 20 years older and maintains the blank, vacant-eyed look of a life-long addict.
The visual reminders of the young Chet and the old Chet would almost have you believe this is a film about two people.
Symbolically, it is one about the amazing and gifted artist as a young man and the other about a decayed and lost older man.
There are many funny anecdotes from the talking heads compiled, mostly old friends from Baker’s past, like musician Jack Sheldon and photographer William Claxton.
However, much is weighed down by the dark tales of Baker’s addictions and the damage caused to not only his life and health, but to his many loved ones and family members.
The interviews with Baker’s mother, who calls her son a “disappointment” and those of his ex-wife and three children are concrete examples that Baker is not a man to be admired despite his prodigious musical talents.
This is the classic “warts and all” documentary. Baker has his friends and lovers, to be sure, but even they exhibit an exasperated feeling of helplessness in their like, if not love, for the man.
I found “Let’s Get Lost” to be endlessly fascinating. Baker’s elegant, romantic yet melancholy music is timeless, and it is hard to rectify how such a beautiful sound could have been created by someone with such carelessness about his and others’ lives.
Like too many other famed musicians, Baker disappeared down the black hole of heroin addiction, and this film’s title tells us much of what we need to know of his life.
?BOB HARRIS has been hooked on movies since he was 13 when his brother got a job in a multi-plex and Bob saw all the movies he wanted for free. ?BOB HARRIS has been hooked on movies since he was 13 when his brother got a job in a multi-plex and Bob saw all the movies he wanted for free.