Sunday, February 28, 2010

Crazy Heart (2009)

The acting is good across the board, in spite of writing that seems to switch up between tempos and motivations. By that token, I think Maggie Gyllenhaal manages to actually do the most with the little she is given. Its not her acting, its the fact the role just seems underwritten: The character is supposed to seem like she is lost and/or broken in some way, but there's no real sense who she is and why she even wants to interview (or become involved with) Bad Blake (Bridges) in the first place. Its odd that the other relationships in the film come across better than the main, sort-of romantic one. Colin Farrell shows up as a country singer who Blake mentored, and who is now bigger in the scene than Blake. It says a lot about Farrell, and Bridges as well, that their best scene isn't one when they are trading fairly rote dialogue, but when they are singing onstage together and their body language and eyes are telling the story about the relationship between the two men.

Speaking of which, despite some of the writing's shortcomings, Jeff Bridges (as per usual) really is excellent here. Its easy to make comparisons with Mickey Rourke's turn in The Wrestler- a down and out entertainer just trying to get by. Crazy Heart is much less bleak, in a sense, its sad, but there is more redemption here. Wait: about Bridges, his performance as Bad Blake really does feel comfortable, lived-in, right down to his walk and doesn't go too far with the drunk mannerisms. Also, I feel like his buddy relationship with Robert Duvall as an old friend seemed much more real than the others. More organic, I guess. It really does feel like two old pros who feel comfortable with each other.

It sounds like I didn't like the movie, but I did. I just wanted to like it more than I actually did. And while it lands in a happier place than, say, The Wrestler did, there might be something to say for "over" finishing something, if that makes sense. That said: I did like Bridges a lot. Also, the original music that comes from T-Bone Burnett is also really good, which helps things.

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