Jeff Bridges is one of the unsung heroes of cinema, he has a consistently explosive body of work and yet he is still to claim that ever so coveted little golden man Mr. Oscar. His new offering Crazy Heart is quite a demanding protagonistic turn, in that, it is through and through a solo performance despite tremendous support from the likes of Maggie Gyllenhaal, Bobby Duvall and a slightly suspicious Colin Farrell. This is not however the first, in that Bridges dominates the film and commands your attention in every scene, it is similar to previous roles such as El Duderino from The Big Lebowski, Jack Lucas in The Fisher King and more recently the wacky Bill Jango in The Men Who Stare at Goats.
It is a directorial debut for Scott Cooper, who also co-wrote (adapted from a Thomas Cobbs novel of the same name) and produced the film, officially making him the man responsible behind the scenes, but yet in direction it is reminiscent to Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler, in that it wavers between deliberate dramatic amateurism to sophisticated polished exuberance, but it still loiters fluency enough in both its method and delivery to be ‘voyeuristically’ satisfying. However the central character of this film is music (provided by Bridges, T-Bone Burnett, Ryan Bingham and Stephen Bruton) in that it brings method to bridges madness. The film perpetuates Bridges Bad Blake character with such conviction that it is as if we were watching a real life bio-pic like Walk the Line.
The film follows Bridges washed up country n western Bad Blake as he shuffles from one dead end s*** hole to the other in the shadow of his once illustrious career. The plight of the fallen musician or artist has consistently been an enigmatic bemusement for film goers, as it manages to neatly package a broad tapestry of human emotions for our cogitative pleasures infused with a feral obsession with the illusive creative one. Furthermore, the film also obeys the cliché format of almost every fame rags- back to fame story, in that ultimately the audience is given hope for our fateful protagonist.
Fear not though, as Crazy Heart never allows sentimentality to ever fully blossom, as it always sustains a firm grasp of realism in its misanthropic rhetoric. Jeff Bridges oozes coolness as always throughout, even when his acting abilities are at its most punctuated when he shows every vulnerability a man could put upon the metaphorical table, and yet the audience is fully emphatic until the end, whether Bad Blake has collapsed in his own puke or is collecting an award.
Crazy Heart’s central pulse ultimately emanates not from its all star performances or dirty country music, but its demonstration in what makes us human, the true meanings of success and failures, what we learn from the ups and downs and what is fundamentally important in our lives. It could have so easily have been a recipe for a pretentious disaster or a Kris Kristofferson b-movie, and yet whether you’re a cowboy or a bank clerk, you’ll find a heart with this Oscar worthy tale.
Crazy Heart Trailer