Sunday, January 17, 2010

Crazy Heart

Film: Crazy Heart

Starring: Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski), Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight), Colin Farrell (In Bruges)

U.S. Release: 2009

Director: Scott Cooper

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 112 Minutes

After reading the Golden Globe nominations and seeing the preview for Crazy Heart, I had to check out Jeff Bridges' performance for myself. Bridges has had a brilliant career in Hollywood. He's starred in many of my all time favorites such as Arlington Road, Amateurs, and of course the brilliant Coen Brothers' film The Big Lebowski. Therefore, naturally I had high expectations for Scott Cooper's directorial debut, but all in all Crazy Heart fell short of spectacular.

The film revolves solely around the life of a once highly regarded Country music star, Bad Blake (Bridges). From the opening scene Cooper drives home the point that Blake is not only a "has been" in the music scene, but a crude alcoholic to say the least. Blake travels around the country in his just as old and just as beat up truck, performing at Saloon's and Bowling Alley's to keep his washed up career alive. While on the road he agrees to an interview with a young attractive writer named Jean Craddock (Gyllenhaal). Despite being a terrible interview, Blake has two things going for him. First, he's still a very talented musician. And Second, he's quite charming. So naturally Jean and Blake fall for one another. Jean, however, demands more than just charm from Blake, she desires his sobriety and loyalty. Although, this may be a little too much to handle for the 57 year old artist.

Undoubtedly, Bridges gives a wonderful performance. Cooper also deserves credit for creating such a lovable, yet flawed, lead character. The downfall in Crazy Heart centers around the timeline of the film. Cooper spends way too much time showing you the same scenes over and over again, and not enough time showing Blake's personal struggle to change his lifestyle. Colin Farrell also gave a noteworthy performance as Blake's younger, more famous protege who wants nothing more than to help revive his mentor's career.

This is a slow paced film (although I felt it didn't have to be) that is full of some great acting. The story is interesting and if you're a fan of Country music you'll enjoy the soundtrack. However, Crazy Heart is somewhat lacking in story and, as an overall film, very mediocre.

Watch Crazy Heart if you enjoyed: The Wrestler. Darren Aronofsky's 2008 hit is a one man show (starring Mickey Rourke) much like this movie.

Stars: 2 and a half out of 4

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