Sunday, April 04, 2010

Crazy Heart

There's a scene in the beginning of Crazy Heart that sums up 'ol country singer Bad Blake's current state of affairs: he gets out of the car, his pants askew and belt undone, and pours a jug of yellow liquid on the ground of the parking lot. In other words, he's currently an out-of-luck, gotta-get-to-the-next-venue country singer, and no money or time to stop at any motel along the way.

It's a fine screenplay, achingly portrayed by Jeff Bridges in the title role. His singing voice is acceptable, believable in the lower registers, and gruff enough to make us believe this guy has been through everything a country singer should experience. The only part of this movie I found unbelievable was the May-December romance. While Maggie Gyllenhaal is a fine actress, and getting better all the time, I just did not see how she could be attracted to this old, smelly, bedraggled mess of a man.

Even though there's no real action to speak of, the movie never slows, and keeps up a constant character portrayal of Bad Blake and his move towards redemption. The music is another character in this movie, and is a real star, thanks to T-Bone Burnett, who co-wrote the songs with Ryan Bingham. It's really outstanding, and I'm not a country music fan per se.

I highly recommend Crazy Heart, not just for the fine acting but also for its heart. And, of course, it's the pinnacle, so far, of Jeff Bridges' fine acting career, as he won an Oscar for it.

Thumb's up.


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