Starring Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell & Robert Duvall.
Written & Directed by Scott Cooper.
The answer to the question as to whether Jeff Bridges deserved his Best Actor award at this year’s Oscars is a resounding you bet your ass! At times channelling The Dude from the Coen Brothers’ The Big Lebowski, Bridges is totally immersed as the aging, alcoholic country star Bad Blake, reduced to playing tiny gigs in backwater bowling alleys. It’s a role that was seemingly penned expressly for the actor (even though the story is from a book of the same name). Writer/director Scott Cooper knew of Bridges’ prowess as a musician, and apparently could see no one else in the role. Omniscient vision, because from the moment the great actor appears on screen, the audience never once has reason to doubt the character. And the film is a character study. There is not much story thrust here, just a portrait of a lost man, trying to reconnect with the world. But the film is also a tasty slice of the life of a working musician, featuring some truly great songs written by Stephen Bruton, Ryan Bingham and T-Bone Burnett (among others). Blake is living in the shadow of his former protégé Tommy Sweet (Farrell). He has distant ghosts that haunt his waking hours, and all his roads lead to the next bottle of whiskey. He could be great – if only he could get his head straight and write some new songs. Crazy Heart really is an actors’ film. Aside from Bridges, a small but outstanding supporting cast provide the additional flavour to this musical stew. Maggie Gyllenhaal is perfectly cast as the young writer and single mother who falls for Blake, harbouring demons of her own. Robert Duvall brings his bold charisma to a small role as Blake’s old friend and Colin Farrell is typically fine as young country star Tommy Sweet. Yet there is no denying that this is Bridges’ movie. The idiosyncrasies he brings to this role help define one of the most endearing and deeply wrought characters of recent years. The film itself may not be anything groundbreaking, but that’s only because, from conception, it was all about Jeff.
by Wadrick Jones