By Gregory Crofton
“BEWARE OF MR. BAKER” was one of this year’s hit documentaries, which means it will likely at least recoup its expenses, but more importantly, that both critics and audiences liked it.
It’s hard to go wrong with a star as magnetic and acerbic as Ginger Baker, a man who invented modern rock drumming (not that he really intended to, he likes to play Jazz). But director Jay Bulger, a journalist and first-time doc filmmaker, succeeds in not getting in the way of this man’s relentless capacity to push life to its breaking point.
Bulger spent time living with Baker in South Africa to make the film. He had the guts to orchestrate and take that journey, and got a broken nose for it too. It was there he shot what seems to be a limited amount of interview footage with the Baker, a British drummer who played with Cream, Blind Faith, Hawkwind and Fela Kuti among others.
Bulger builds his film into a fascinating rock portrait that reveals the good and the bad of the man using archival rock clips, interviews of his past bandmates, like Eric Clapton, family members, and captivating animated illustrations (like the one shown above).
Believe the hype on this doc. It keeps you interested throughout, and makes you want to go listen to the drumming on some Cream records. You can visit the “BEWARE OF MR. BAKER” website here.