Tribeca Film Festival 2022: “Blaze” is a Truly Bizarre Yet Beautiful Tale of Dealing with Trauma

Del Kathryn Barton’s Blaze tells the story of a young girl who witnessed a violent crime and tries to cope with the trauma with the help of an imaginary dragon. There’s no question this is an incredibly difficult subject to broach, especially in a film where the primary character is a 12-year-old girl, but this film does it in a truly bizarre way. There’s a fine line between art and outright craziness and this film walks it the entire time.

First and foremost, you can’t talk about this film without talking about the performance of Julia Savage, who plays the title character. Her portrayal of this traumatized young girl is so powerful and moving that you can’t help but become emotionally invested in her journey. You truly get the sense you are watching a future start while watching her in this movie.

She is complemented perfectly by Simon Baker, who plays her attentive yet increasingly frustrated single father. His performance grows more and more compelling with each outburst from his troubled on-screen daughter as his character struggles to deal with her trauma and how to help her cope with it. Together, these two deliver wonderfully emotional scenes and some incredible chemistry.

Half of this movie is an incredibly emotional tale of a girl and her journey to overcome grief and trauma and come out the other side a triumphant woman. It’s a coming-of-age story that sees a little girl let go of the constructs she came up with to help her deal with the horrible things she’s endured and do what she has to in order to receive justice.

The other half of this movie is a combination of nightmarish stop-motion sequences and trippy music video segments that a meant to symbolize what she’s going through mentally. On one hand, they do succeed in showing the messiness of the human mind as one tries to endure such pain. On the other hand, the symbolism they feature is so vague and hard to follow that it can easily take you out of the movie.

Luckily, these sequences never last too long and you are quickly returned to the powerful emotional drama that Savage and Baker deliver. All it takes is a minute with those two and this touching story and you find yourself reeled right back in.

Overall, Blaze is certainly not going to be for everyone. It is, at times, just downright bizarre to the point where a lot of its audience are going to want to turn away. However, those who can endure those truly strange and nightmarish sequences are then hooked on this story and memorable performances of this cast. It’s not an easy watch by any means as even the most lighthearted moments are underscored by this tone of grief, but it is executed very well in the end.

Mike Mack
Mack is the Editorial Director for Marvel and ESPN content and he has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed "nerd."