"Crazy Heart" DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

4/17/2010 Posted by Admin

On DVD and Blu-ray disc

“Crazy Heart”

Written and directed by Scott Cooper, 101 minutes, rated R.

By Christopher Smith

Scott Cooper’s “Crazy Heart” offers audiences nothing new--we’ve been here before, most recently in the film that revived Mickey Rourke’s career, “The Wrestler.” But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see the movie.

In fact, you absolutely should see it, particularly since its star, Jeff Bridges, deservedly won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his authentic performance as the talented, down-on-his-luck country singer, Bad Blake. This might, in fact, be the best performance of Bridges’ career. What Cooper creates with him is something troubling, humbling and sad, but most of all, it’s memorable, powerful and it resonates.

While there are issues with the story itself--it’s a bit rushed, particularly at the end, in which it’s suggested that the struggle for sobriety isn’t much of a struggle at all--there are zero issues with what Bridges brings to the screen. As Blake, he is nothing short of the real thing, an aging country singer somewhere in his 50s who no longer sings his hit songs to the masses. Instead, he now headlines bowling alleys and saloons, skirting from one gig to the next in an old truck that, mirroring Blake himself, is just about out of gas.

It’s in New Mexico that he meets Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a journalist whose career could benefit from an interview with Blake. He gives her one, a few drinks pass hands, and before you know it, they’re in a relationship. But what to do with Jean’s young son, who Blake adores, likely because he abandoned his own son (now an adult) around the same age? As a bond grows between them all, the movie manufactures a few moments of clichéd melodrama, but rising above it is Bridges, who is so loose onscreen, it’s difficult to imagine that he knew a camera was on him at all.

That’s the genius of his performance. He’s so lost in the role, the lines blur between character and actor to the point where audiences are left with admiration for Bridges’ work (he sings every song here--and well), and with pity for Blake, who knows he needs to pull himself together. Otherwise, his romance with Jean is shot.

Rounding out the cast is a very good Colin Farrell as the successful country singer Tommy Sweet, who learned the ropes from Blake, and Robert Duvall as a bar owner and one of Blake’s best friends. Those who remember 1983’s “Tender Mercies,” in which Duvall won the Academy Award, will note the parallels between the two films--and welcome them.

Grade: B+

View the trailer for "Crazy Heart" below. What are your thoughts of the film?

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