Written and Directed by Scott Cooper
(Part of Glasgow Film Festival)
The film is based on Thomas Cobb's novel of the same name. It has great music and Jeff Bridges is superb as the main character Bad Blake, a four times married, alcoholic country and western singer. Skint and slovenly he's left his glory days far behind him and is ekeing out a living playing smalltown dives with pickup bands.
Whilst still able to charm his loyal fans and attract aging groupies, it's a case of wondering whether the drink or the fags will get him first. Bridges is superb in the role of the slobbish singer, who still has a swagger and twinkle in his eye despite his downward spiral into drunkeness.
So convincing is his performance as the alcoholic down on his luck that you wonder quite why Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a much younger journalist who comes to interview him, finds him attractive. However, it's no surprise when they fall for each other.
Maggie Gyllenhaal manages to wring quite a bit out of a rather thin role but she seems a bit too intelligent and wholesome. A single mum with a cute four year old son, she swiftly takes a risk on the very unstable Bad Blake and you can guess there's trouble ahead.
The scenes between Blake and his best buddy, Wayne (Robert Duvall) are particlarly enjoyable and the tender and humourous nature of their friendhsip is very believable. Duvall gives a fine performance.
The other main character is Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell), country and western superstar, whom Blake taught everything he knows but the two had a big fall out when Tommy had a major hit with one of Blake's songs. However, Tommy can well afford to throw a lifeline to his former mentor and commissions him to write some songs for him.
Colin Farrell pitches his performance as the self-aware star just right and like Bridges he does his own singing in the film. He sounds fine but is surpassed by Bridges, who is in every way just completely on form in this film. The music, overseen by T-Bone Burnett, is terrific and includes new songs written by Burnett and Ryan Bingham.
The story of Crazy Heart really holds few surprises and it jogs along at a comfortable pace with all the ingredients you might find in a country and western song. It's got romance, heartache, loneliness, redemption, music, big country and booze. It could be argued that the characters are rather more engaging than the story, particularly, however, the quality of Bridges' performance raises the film way above the ordinary. The scenes are beautifully shotwith some wonderful locations and the music just superb. We'll definitely be acquiring the CD.
(Part of Glasgow Glasgow Film Festival for bringing the film to Glasgow before it goes on general release.
Looks as though Jeff Bridges is set for an oscar -
Some reviews from rotten tomatoes.com
Review. Pat Byrne, 22nd February, 2010