Beware of Mr Baker
Beware of Mr Baker is a biopic of the drummer Ginger Baker, best known for his success with the band Cream. Branded by many in the music industry as “the greatest drummer of all time”, Baker has lived a varied life and is as well known for his colourful persona as he is for his incredible musical ability.
The film is the work of young director and writer Jay Bulger, who became interested in Baker after seeing a documentary of his drive across the Sahara. Under the pretence of writing an article for Rolling Stone magazine, Bulger went to meet Baker at his reclusive home in South Africa and lived with him while interviewing him about every aspect of his past. Forming a large part of the film’s content, these interviews are gripping to observe. Baker tells stories that are humorous, witty and often saddening, and he frequently hurls abuse at Bulger – at one point hitting him in the face with a metal cane.
The film also features candid interviews with Baker’s family and with the musicians who have worked beside him, including Eric Clapton and Johnny Rotten.
Alongside discussions about Baker’s obvious talent for music and his life as a drummer, Bulger also asks questions which delve into the darker and more personal aspects of his life: his heroin addiction, three failed marriages, his current struggle with arthritis, as well as his passion for polo.
The film doesn’t attempt to glorify Baker – it paints an honest picture of an interesting character. While acknowledging him for the gifted person he clearly is, the audience also see a man whose life often seems to be falling out of his control, and whose remarks to those closest to him are often hurtful.
The film is imaginatively constructed, with a blend of animation and handheld camera footage. Although the subject is serious, there are many moments which leave the audience laughing, making for enjoyable viewing for anyone interested in music. Beware of Mr Baker has already gained an award at the South by Southwest film festival and after watching it, it’s clear to see why. Bulger is a talented filmmaker, and viewers are likely to leave the cinema wanting to learn more about both him and Ginger Baker.
Beware of Mr Baker is released nationwide and on digital download on 12th May 2013.
Watch the trailer for Beware of Mr Baker here: