Crazy Heart- The Wrestler meets Walk the Line

11 Feb

An accomplished Delawarean actor once told me that a good performance can be boiled down to one simple thing – honesty. And there is no greater proof of that statement than Jeff Bridges’ Bad Blake, a talented country singer on the last legs of his career, as portrayed in Crazy Heart.

There is a subtle brilliance to Bridges acting, as if he is merely playing himself.  There is a basic honesty to his work, that makes his character’s not only believable but also worth watching.

The story of Bad Blake is cliche from top to bottom; old, down-on-his-luck country singer struggles with alcoholism and returns to fame and glory. But Bridges’ honesty brought a depth to Bad Blake that made you want to watch him. Plus, I mean, come on: it’s the Dude as a country western singer.

That last sentence alone should be good enough for any movie goer. But there is something enticing about honest performances, especially in this context.  Last year’s version was Mickey Rourke’s The Wrestler, another great performance centered around honesty. But more than that, it was a story of redemption. Part of the attraction to both films is that you start to pull for the guy so that you can believe you’re never too old to do better and to change, but that hope is found through the actors ability to establish themselves as real and believable, honest.

Those things having been said, there are clear holes in the rest of the film. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays the love interest, whose responsibility to her son make it difficult for her to follow Bad’s road trip lifestyle. But her deep love for Bad basically comes from nowhere. Similarly, Colin Farrell plays Tommy Sweet, a commercially successful and estranged protege of Bad’s; but after a great deal of emotional buildup the two seem to silently reconcile in their first scene together. The character development just doesn’t match the quality of the performances.

On the whole it’s an enjoyable film that leaves you satisfied. It doesn’t match the intensity or inherent drama of The Wrestler, but what Crazy Heart lacks it makes up for with great acting and quality music. Ryan Bingham’s, a rising country star in real life, recording of “The Weary Kind” won best original song at the Golden Globes and for good reason (see below).  Bridges and Ferrell performed all their own sons, which is not much of a stretch for Bridges who released a solo album entitled “Be Here Soon”, in 2000.

Directed by Scott Cooper, starring: Jeff Bridges, Colin Farrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Robert Duvall. A Fox Searchlight Production. Runtime 1 hour and 51 minutes.

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One Response to “Crazy Heart- The Wrestler meets Walk the Line”

  1. cynthia February 16, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    deleware has an accomplished actor 🙂

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