Sunday, February 28, 2010
CRAZY HEART / ***½
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Release Date: December 16, 2009
Running Time: 111 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
After four previous Oscar nominations and decades of being one of the most respected actors in Hollywood, Jeff Bridges finally seems poised to capture an Academy Award for best Actor for his performance as the hard living country singer Bad Blake in Scott Cooper’s “Crazy Heart.”
The story is strikingly similar to another film that brought its leading man plenty of Oscar talk last year – Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler” with Mickey Rourke. Bad Blake is a country singer who used to be a lot bigger than he is now, as his concerts are booked in bowling alleys and corner bars in small towns. He’s been drunk likely as long as he can remember, and his carousing lifestyle has led to a distance from those he once loved.
On one of his tour stops, he meets a young journalist named Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal) that wants to interview him. They develop an instant rapport and Bad even takes a liking to her young son. Jean approaches the relationship with some degree of trepidation, but she can’t help but be transfixed by the man who seems to effortlessly write great songs while simply lying in bed and hardly thinking about it.
While Bad Blake is playing in dives, one of his protégés, a man named Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell) has attained worldwide stardom and plays to sold out arenas. This is definitely a subplot to the main love story, but the scenes between Farrell and Bridges actually outshone the Gyllenhaal and Bridges scenes. Farrell and Bridges undoubtedly have chemistry together; their scenes together are two men unsure how to act around each other, even though there is clearly respect there. I wouldn’t have minded if this was the film’s main story, but alas. Farrell continues to impress me as an actor – between this and “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” (as well as last year’s “In Bruges” I really don’t think he’s getting enough credit these days.
In a bit of irony or just clever casting, Robert Duvall also shows up as Wayne, a bartender whom Bad has had a long friendship with. Duvall won an Oscar in 1984 for “Tender Mercies,” another film “Crazy Heart” can be compared to.
“Crazy Heart” though simply belongs to Jeff Bridges, and it is a wonderful performance. Whether or not it’s been declared “his time” or not it’s a performance worthy of the Oscar he’s sure to win.
Theater: RDM Westroads 14, Omaha, NE
Time: 210 pm
Date: February 7, 2010