Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Nog and Crazy Heart
Bad Blake is this year's Randy the Ram. Like Mickey Rourke's performance in The Wrestler, Jeff Bridges' turn in Crazy Heart is a perfect mix of character and actor that never feels less than fully authentic. Blake is an aging country star who quit writing new material long ago. He's been eclipsed by a younger generation who are all surface flash (one of them, Tommy Sweet, learned everything he knows from Blake himself). But Blake has lived the life he sings, full of failed relationships and hard drinking, and by the time we meet him, rolling up in his old pick-up to a shitty gig in a bowling alley, it's taken his toll on him. Sure, he'll sing you the song you want to hear, but he might have to step outside and throw up midway through it (watch for the little smile he flashes when he returns to the stage). Crazy Heart's material is familiar--it's essentially a story of love and possible redemption (in the form of a lovely single mother and small-town music reporter played by Maggie Gyllenhaal)--but the film feels very honest with its characters and is full of subtle, knowing glimpses into the unglamourous side of the music industry. It may not be the best film ever made about a broken-down old country singer (surely that's Tender Mercies, right?), but its an awfully good one (and as if to confirm this, Mercies' Robert Duvall his own self shows up in the last half hour to take Blake fishing!). I look forward to Bridges' Oscar speech.