The resemblance is sort of insane, but there’s still a looming question of whether Benjamin has the acting chops to dive as deep into the character as is necessary to pull out a meaningful biopic. Adding to that, Ridley is a strange beast who is relatively untested as a feature director. He also wrote All Is By My Side, as well as earning a screenplay credit on 12 Years a Slave (which is also playing at TIFF), but this marks only the second movie he’s directed beyond a middling drama from the late 90s.
The film follows Hendrix before he earned his fame and icon status. It co-stars Ruth Negga, Imogen Poots, Hayley Atwell, and a guy who looks exactly like young Keith Richards playing Keith Richards. There’s no telling what stories the movie will tell, but the lack of anyone playing The Beatles in the cast list makes me worried that my favorite Hendrix story — that Paul McCartney and John Lennon saw Hendrix cover Sgt. Pepper’s at a small club a day after they released the album — will be left out. Even if it didn’t make the cut, here’s hoping for an excellent film about a towering musical figure.