Friday, June 4, 2010

Crazy Heart. A-

'Crazy Heart' tells an old story, but it's never too predictable. It shows us a character with dangerous problems we've known and seen before, but it doesn't overly emphasize these problems. It's a quiet little movie with great music, a solid story, and a realistic, ultimately Oscar-winning performance from Jeff Bridges. 'Crazy Heart' was picked up by Fox Searchlight and just sort of came out of nowhere last December. It immediately gained steam and votes for Jeff Bridges at all the award shows. So when Oscar night came, it seemed inevitable that Bridges would win for Best Actor. I normally don't care very much about these awards, but for Bridges I did. I was rooting for him, and when he won I felt real joy. I was very enthusiastic about Bridges' work in the movie, and while his character's path is a familiar one, Bridges makes it seem fresh. The movie plays a lot like 'The Wrestler,' only men fighting each other is replaced by men singing and playing country music. Bridges owns the film and could have carried it all by himself, but writer-director Scott Cooper includes some great supporting characters. I was particularly fond of the character Tommy, who considers Bad Blake (Bridges) to be his mentor. He's played by Colin Farrell, who, like Bridges, is a solid musician and a great actor. 'Crazy Heart' is about a broken down musician on the brink of falling apart. His best gigs take place in bowling alleys. His hotels are arranged, but their quality is on the level of a Motel 6. He drinks and smokes and the doctor hints that he'll kill himself if he keeps up his habits. The progression of the story goes as expected. Throughout the movie, Blake is writing a song called 'The Weary Kind.' We expect him to perform it at the end as sort of an assurance that he's gotten his life back on track. But Blake doesn't sing it. Tommy does. So yes, the movie is familiar, but, as that final song indicates, not to the point where we can guess the next scene.

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