Monday, January 18, 2010

Crazy Heart

A career high performance from Jeff Bridges anchors this tale of a past his prime county singer just trying to survive day to day on his charm and what's left of his talent. We've seen characters like this before in films, most recently in "The Wrestler" (which could be a distant cousin). Like Mickey Rourke in that film, Mr. Bridges gives a raw, uncompromising performance that drives the film and fully engages the audience.

When we first meet "Bad" Blake, he is getting by on booze, cigarettes, and one night stands in cheap motels. He hasn't written a new song in years and his protégé has passed him by to become a superstar on his own (Tommy Sweet, played by a surprising Colin Farrell). When he meets reporter Maggie Gyllenhaal, she awakens something in him, he had thought long dead. To it's credit, Crazy Heart avoids the relationship cliché and what remains is touching and authentic.

I also can't say enough about the great soundtrack, put together by T-Bone Burnett. Mr. Bridges and Mr. Farrell do their own singing on the original songs and there are some classics thrown in as well.

Robert Duvall produced the film and also co-stars in a small role, which brings to mind his own star turn in "Tender Mercies", a film with similar themes. In his younger day, I'm sure Mr. Duvall would have coveted the role of "Bad" Blake for himself. But the part belongs to Mr. Bridges and he reaches down deep for what will surely be an Oscar nominated performance ( as of this review, he has just won the Golden Globe).

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