Sunday, February 14, 2010
'Crazy Heart' a Little Too Real, but Excellent
Jeff Bridges' Oscar-worthy performance as journeyman country singer-songwriter Bad Blake in "Crazy Heart" threw me to another time, one I'd just as soon forget. Bridges is as convincing an alcoholic as I've ever seen on screen and this comes from one who's denied every wrong, lied every lie, worshiped at every porcelin throne, bedded every Queen of the Silver Dollar and been dumped by every type of good woman.
Bridges is something of a poor man's Waylon Jennings (sounds a bit like him, in fact) in this role of a lifetime, one that 15 years ago would have been played--badly--by a worn out Kris Khristofferson in a movie that would have quickly been forgotten. This one won't be. It won't be a big commercial success, either, because it's entirely too good for that broad an audience.
You can see just about every turn of events in this movie coming like an 18-wheeler on a West Texas highway, but in Bridges' hands it's all new, all shocking and saddening and even the ending, which must have come from a focus group of 10-year-sober alcoholics, has the feel of something real, something that is inevitable and valuable.
Bridges and Colin Farrell, who plays Bad Blake's estranged singing buddy, sang their own tunes and each has a rich authenticity, though the stretch here isn't into the five-octave opera range. It's basic three cord country with a gravely whisky voice and a touch of Merle Haggard world-weariness.
Maggie Gyllenhaal, whose acting I simply adore, is just about perfect as Bridges' unlikely love interest. Robert Duvall plays a small role with considerable impact.
This, however, is Bridges' movie and he grabs the role by the throat and won't let go. Highly recommended, especially if you're interested in what it's like at the bottom of the bottle.