Comments on watching and making films.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Crazy Heart

There's an old saying that goes - "There are no new stories". Basically, what that means is, its not the originality of the story, its what mark you put on it. As far as movies go, and movies about country music in particular, the idea of the weathered old musician, lost in a haze of alcohol, or drugs, or both, who gets a second chance, is not exactly new. But, its what you put into it. Scott Cooper brings a certain majesty and glory to this story in his new film Crazy Heart.

Crazy Heart stars Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake, a country western musician from another time of country stars like Waylon Jennings and George Jones. He has seen his career peak, many years ago, and is now broke and forced into doing shows in bars and bowling alleys. When he meets Jean, a young reporter played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, he see's a light at the end of the tunnel he has dug himself into. But can he see his way free from all of the things that made him Bad Blake in the first place?

Crazy Heart is an amazing and beautiful journey through the life and pain of Bad Blake, who is exquisitely played by Jeff Bridges. Bridges proves, yet again, that he is one of our best living actors. He isn't afraid to show all of the embarrassing aspects of Blake's life, including waking up in his underwear from being drunk the night before, running into the toilet, puking, and passing out on the floor. Bridges plays this role no holds barred - he is sweaty, bumbling, and old. He is fragile. He is broken. Gyllenhaal plays a woman who is absolutely willing to let her heart be broken again, but, when it is, she steps back, like a wounded animal, staying as far away from that which has hurt her as she can. Colin Farrell is a bit of a surprise as a New-Country star who's fortune and fame was built on song's Bad Blake wrote for him, and Robert Duvall shines as one of Blake's friends. This film is really great. I feel like every step that was taken here was just right, and the soundtrack overseen by T Bone Burnett is perfect. Well worth seeing.

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