February 3, 2010

Review: Crazy Heart

Jeff Bridges has a slow, easy way that has served him well for most of the roles he’s portrayed over the years. He came to my attention in “Starman” and I’ve enjoyed watching him ever since.

Even with impressive support from versatile Colin Farrell (in what really amounts to a cameo role) and great chemistry with beauty Maggie Gyllenhaal, Bridges is the reason to see “Crazy Heart.”

Bridges plays country legend Bad Blake, mentor to Farrell’s country star Tommy Sweet and now a has-been relegated to playing in bowling alleys to support his drinking habit. Bridges doesn’t have quite the nuance that Colin Firth portrays in “A Single Man,” but nonetheless this role warrants the nominations he’s received. His character’s struggle with the ultimate consequences of the choices he’s made makes the audience nod in sympathetic understanding.

Once again the writing leaves something to be desired; gaps in the plot leave us guessing the reasons why Blake descends to such depths in his drinking. Clues from the interview with journalist Jean Craddock (Gyllenhaal) tell us a little about his many marriages and former partnership with Sweet, but I suspect that the book by Thomas Cobb would reveal the mysteries left unanswered.

The movie features a small role from Robert Duvall, one of my favorite actors and one of the film’s many, many producers*. Both Bridges and Farrell—whose casting was an interesting surprise to me—do a decent job singing country tunes that are easy on the ears.

Ultimately, watching Bridges evolve and find his redemption makes “Crazy Heart” a worthwhile reason to spend the money and the time to see this in a theatre.

*Nine producers? What’s up with that?


Blobby said...

Ok - I've seen the previews, and it stumps me: why not just hire Kris Kristofferson?

They look and sound the same.

Rox said...

I've seen previews of this too and it's on my list of movies to see when it comes to dvd.

Don't the producers just bankroll the film? If it took nine, then it seems like it would have been a tough sell to start with, some films that have a hard time being financed end up at the top. (Precious comes to mind. It was made then couldn't get distribution, so Tyler Perry and Oprah "produced" it and wham, it's a hit.) I spend too much time reading Hollywood news, it would appear.