Monday, September 27, 2010
Crazy Heart (2009)
When reporter Jean Craddock (Oscar nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal) interviews Bad Blake (Oscar winner Jeff Bridges) -- an alcoholic, seen-better-days country music legend -- they connect, and the hard-living crooner sees a possible saving grace in a life with Jean and her young son. But can he leave behind an existence playing in the shadow of Tommy (Colin Farrell), the upstart kid he once mentored? Robert Duvall produces and co-stars.
Sure, the story of an aging alcoholic country western star hitting bottom may have been done before, but NOT BETTER. Jeff Bridges has been a favorite of mine for years and this just seems to be HIS YEAR. Bridges plays BAD BLAKE without missing a beat. He is a character many of us who have had alcoholic family members will realize as a genuine and almost flawless performance. As Bad makes his tour of dives in New Mexico he finds a young reporter (Maggie Gyllenhaal) somewhat a breath of fresh air and embarks upon a long distance relationship with her in the midst of many obstacles. This was one of the best performances I have seen from Maggie. Although she and Bad seem like polar opposites they have chemistry. I had no trouble seeing the attraction of a star struck country fan meeting one of her idols and pursuing a relationship. And although this film definitely has dark moments I did not find it a totally depressing movie. The acting of Bridges and Gyllenhaal is worth the admission price but as an extra blessing there is Colin Farrell as the current country star who has not forgotten who taught him the ropes. He and Bridges sing a duet in one scene that was so good it made me want to run out to get the music CD. Robert Duvall also has a small role as Bad's business partner which just helps to add a little polish to an already very well acted film. This film is not for everyone. It is an adult DRAMA with great writing as well as strong character development. The cinematography is very well done. Great scenic shots from New Mexico that will awe you visually. If you enjoy country music and heartfelt stories do not miss this one.
Crazy Heart is one of those rare and needed tales of failure and redemption that is so close to the very real lives of so many of us. Although the story is similar to many other such films, it is so well acted by Jeff Bridges and Colin Ferrel, as well as a very minor but necessary role played by Robert Duval, that the characters quickly become believable. This is, in my opinion, Jeff Bridges' best role--and he has many great roles in his portfolio. The most interesting and impressive aspect of this film is the singing performances by both Jeff and Colin. I would love to have a CD featuring them both, though Jeff's voice is the best suited for Country---AND I ALREADY BOUGHT IT! Although the story may be familiar and easy to predict the character developement and the performances of all involved, including Maggie Gyllenhaal (Jean) and Jack Nation (Buddy), makes it believable and fresh. This is the best film I have seen in years and I watch a lot of films. I highly recommend this A-1 film to any adult with an interest in the "loved and lost" or "failure to success" genre. Great film!
The self-destructive tendencies of the creative genius are explored almost flawlessly. A tortured artist film that is consumable and easy to re-watch, if for the music alone. Ryan Bingham's highlight track, "The Weary Kind" indeed makes the movie as many have said. Top notch cinematography and pacing, a very well directed film. One of the most surprising aspects is that the May/November romance doesn't feel contrived at all. Jean is genuinely in love with Bad and sees the man he's capable of. Fantastic ending that seems all to true to life. Highly recommended.