Friday, February 19, 2010
Crazy Heart **
Director: Scott Cooper
Cast. Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal
Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, Beth Grant, Jack Nation
A good performance does not a good movie make and Jeff Bridges is no exception in "Crazy Heart". He plays former country star Bad Blake whose career all but disappeared leaving him to play bowling alleys and dark bars in random towns. He's also an alcoholic and has four ex-wives but no family.
Things change for him when he meets journalist Jean Craddock (Gyllenhaal) and falls in love with her but can he really overcome all his demons and make her happy?
If you think you've heard this one before you probably have and Scott Cooper's directorial debut doesn't bring any refreshing detail to this stale story.
Bridges is of course terrific (but when isn't he?) and makes Blake's little quirks and head movements more interesting than all the dialogue Cooper can muster from Thomas Cobb's novel.
He's so lacking in selfconsciousness and camera awareness that sometimes you feel like you're intruding into his private moments.
Bridges turns almost blasé when he has to enact some redundant scenes, like his rivalry with the man he mentored (Farrell) who became a superstar or the Kodak inspired scenes where he "composes" songs.
But watch him burst into joyous life in the most unexpected moments like when he acts with Jack Nation who plays Jean's four year old son. His eyes share the sense of wonder the kid has and his longing and care say more about his character's backstory than a silly subplot-which is practically forgotten in the screenplay-regarding his own lost son.
The issue with "Crazy Heart" is that nothing feels truthful, this is the kind of movie that would've been served from that magic Robert Altman put in "Nashville"; a certain feeling of life before and after the credits roll.
Everything in this movie though is only conceived to make the story move forward, it has no sense of spontaneity other than to give Blake a rushed redemption.