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.


Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

This seems about accurate. I have to say though I really wasn't that blown away by Bridges. I like him fine, and when he wins his Oscar I won't be that mad, but I just wasn't blown away. Of all the actors turned "singers" Phoenix is my favourite.

Simon said...

I'm still hoping Phoenix is making a mockumentary, and it's all an act. Then I will love him forever.

Anyway, I think Bridges is awesome in this, but bnot the revelation that people make it out as. It certainly is a lived-in performance that deserves an Oscar, which he'd better win, but I think I would've liked it better if the movie wasn't so bland.

Goodr review.

Castor said...

The main problem I had with the movie was the relationship between Bad and Jean which pretty much came out of nowhere. One instant, she is interviewing him, the next she is in bed with him. There was no reason whatsoever for her to be attracted to him and yet it happened. Good review Jose.

Luke said...

Yeah, I've heard Gyllenhaal isn't quite she's cracked up to be (which is unfortunate considering she could've been Oscar-nominated for much more deserving performances - Happy Endings anyone?), so, judging by your review, maybe I should just stick to loving the soundtrack and avoid the movie...