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Archive for March 7th, 2010

Review: Crazy Heart

Heavy drinking washed-up country singer/songwriter ‘Bad’ Blake (Jeff Bridges) is 57 years old, he travels around performing in crappy bars (and a bowling ally) in small southwest towns. Getting so drunk he barley manages to finish his sets, what little remains of his career is going down the toilet fast. The piano player in his pickup band in a Santa Fe bar sets up an interview with his niece Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a local newspaper journalist. The encounter leads to a seemingly doomed relationship but also sets him on a journey that changes his life, but will it save it? Along the way we also meet Bad’s former protégée Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell) now a major star. Farrell gives a surprisingly low but effective performance. The rest of the supporting cast, particularly the ever reliable Maggie Gyllenhaal is excellent but this is Jeff Bridges movie all the way. With his long hair and greying beard he really looks the part and (especially on the poster) looks like Kris Kristofferson. After four previous nominations he is favourite to pick up an Oscar later today. While I actually think Colin Firth’s performances is slightly better I certainly won’t begrudge Bridges if he wins. It is a great testament to Bridges that you don’t look at his hair and beard and think of The Dude.

The thing that really holds the movie together is the music, composed by T-Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham and performed by Bridges and Farrell. I’m not particularly a fan of country music but was really impressed with the music here. Handled with surprising confidence from first time director Scott Cooper based on novel of the same name by Thomas Cobb. The great thing about the movie and Bridges central performance is its believability, it isn’t filled with cringe worthy sentimentality usually associated with movies on about people looking for redemption.

Whilst the film has no real flaws, it does fail to say anything new about the music scene, alcohol or human nature, this is a small criticism for a film that has real heart and a fantastic central performance.

Four Stars out of Five

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