A quality acting performance often knows how to take films out of the mud of the average, and sometimes that performance throws everything else into the background. Because of that, after a few years, hardly anyone remembers what he watched, but everyone remembers the role of one of the actors or actresses. Such is the case with the film Crazy Heart, which was remembered primarily for the incredible performance of Jeff Bridges.
Bridges interprets country musician Bad Blake, whose days of fame are far behind him. He is on tour and plays in bad bars in the south, he is old, he has no money, he is bothered by constant travel and he is a notorious alcoholic. He is no longer interesting to publishers, he has not written a song for a long time, and vanity does not allow him to collaborate again with Tommy (Colin Farrell), the guy whose career he started and who is very popular today. His daily life is changed by meeting journalist Gene (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a single mother, who manages to inspire him with a long-forgotten inspiration, but also to make him determine his priorities in life…
There are numerous films that have failed musicians as their theme and their attempts to return to the path of success, and this work by Scott Cooper is just one of them. Set in the monotonous but vividly shot landscape of the American South, with a predictable story and a pace that is slower than (perhaps) necessary, this film relies almost entirely on two things – excellent acting, primarily by Jeff Bridges, and country music performance takes up a good portion of the action. Acting and music have just picked up several major awards at film festivals and are the first association to this film.
As I mentioned, the story is slower, but it’s certainly not a problem when you notice some strong dialogues, tense scenes, inspiring monologues (since the theme is like that) or at least something that will pull us out of the lethargy we fall into after some half an hour of watching. Bad Blake’s character is surprisingly human, his character is evolving and his story is vivid, but it is told without any real intensity, which can be repulsive. Also, the final impression will largely depend on the viewer’s opinion of country music.
The first association with Jeff Bridges is certainly the role that marked his career, and that is The Dude from the movie The Big Lebowski – with that role he gained cult status, his character started the philosophical movement (dudeism) and gained planetary popularity. He has always been considered a great character actor, but with the role of Bad Blake, he won the Oscar and collected all the praise he received during his career. In the film, he acts and plays and sings, and not a top voice can be considered the product of many years of alcoholism of the character he interprets.
Bridges has made Bad Blake such a convincing person that many may think that he is a real character who is tormented by passing bircs. He enjoyed the role so much that we just don’t know where Bridges ends and Blake starts. Extremely charismatic and a bit grumpy, Bridges is more convincing than ever. Maggie Gyllenhail hasn’t been too long, and the real surprise is Colin Ferrell as Tommy, who turns out not to be as bad as one might conclude. I will also mention the old master Robert Duvall in a supporting role.
Crazy Heart is primarily a film in which Jeff Bridges (probably) played the role of a career, and then a more or less classic story about a failed country musician, who is looking for something that will give meaning to his life again. You won’t see anything new in this movie, but it can be a great way to relax for two hours after a hard day.