Dir. SCOTT COOPER
Jeff Bridges won an Academy Award last year for his portrayal of fictional fading country star, Bad Blake, in Scott Cooper’s directorial debut, Crazy Heart. From the onset of the film there is a strong inclination that Blake’s best days are far behind him. The concerts in front of thousands of screaming fans have come to an end and have been replaced by gigs at local bars and bowling alleys in front of crowds of not more than a couple dozen. Though it comes so naturally to him, he no longer can find the will to write new material and instead he elects to spend most of his days alone in rundown hotel rooms with a bottle of liquor not far from his side. Even when he performs, he’s under the influence of alcohol to the point where in between songs he has to step outside to vomit into a trash can. However, just when Blake’s life seems unsalvageable, he becomes romantically involved with a young journalist (played by Maggie Gyllenhaal), and he is given an opportunity to reevaluate his life, and turn it around. He soon remembers what’s truly important: the people and the music.
Most musical biopics in Hollywood these days fall into an old familiar road-to redemption framework; Taylor Hackford’s Ray fell victim to this; as did James Mangold’s Walk the Line. And to be completely honest, Scott Cooper’s Crazy Heart also gets trapped within this bio picture cliche, but it’s Jeff Bridges who almost single-handily lifts this film out of the mundane and in the process delivers one of the most effective performances of his career. Aside from Bridges, Crazy Heart also benefits from some rather strong supporting work by Maggie Gyllenhaal, Robert Duvall, and Colin Farrell, who ever since The New World, can do no wrong in my books. He stars as Tommy Sweet, a former bandmate of Blake who went solo a couple years back, leaving Blake behind. It was this decision to go solo that arguable led to the start of Blake’s decline.
Though far too formalistic in its approach, Crazy Heart is able to rise above its clichés on the shoulder’s of Jeff Bridges, who not only is able to evoke sympathy in the direction of Blake, but is also able impresses with his remarkable vocal talents. Who knew ‘The Dude’ was a natural behind the microphone? I mean, I don’t even particularly like country music, but during the film’s musical numbers I had my feet a tapping and my hands a clapping.
[notification type=”star”]71/100 - Though far too formalistic in its approach, Crazy Heart is able to rise above its clichés on the shoulder’s of Jeff Bridges.[/notification]