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Vermaak | Entertainment > Film > Resensies | Reviews

Crazy Heart a quiet film

Reney Warrington - 2010-03-02

Director: Scott Cooper
Runtime: 112 minutes
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Robert Duvall, Tom Bower, James Keane, Colin Farrell

I can’t stand country music. So it was a tough decision to go and see Crazy Heart. I am glad I did. Even if the film is slightly monotonous at times, Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal are exceptional together.

In a nutshell

The once great country singer, Bad Blake, is now touring bowling alleys, drinking too much, sleeping with gushing female fans and fighting with his manager. Until he is interviewed and enchanted by Jean Craddock …

A quiet film

Crazy Heart tells a simple story about redemption in a simple, clear way. Bad Blake needs to be redeemed and he finds his catalyst in Jean. There is no dramatic Hollywood turning point, emotionally draining screaming matches or tragic deaths. In fact there might be too little happening, it might be too clear. Having said that, I must admit that the Oscar hype surrounding the film could have created an expectation of a more emotionally complex film, such as The Wrestler or Door in the floor (in which Bridges starred). Crazy Heart is still an engaging film.

Surprise element

What makes this film stand apart is the characterization. No one is really ‘bad’. There is no villain in this film. (Except perhaps for alcohol.) Bad is a likeable guy. His Southern Charm turns out to be sincere. He is just a drunk, not a bad guy.

Gyllenhaal plays a sweet, single mother with disappointments of her own. Tommy Sweet, Blake’s young protégé, desperately tries to help his mentor. Wayne is the loyal friend, also a former alcoholic, who takes Bad to rehab. They are all flawed but profoundly good people.

Spot-on casting

Bad Blake is the perfect type of character for Jeff Bridges. He has the skill to make the audience look beyond the flabby gut, unruly hair and unhealthy habits and see the humanity in the character. Those blue eyes certainly help to convey a wealth of emotions.

Gyllenhaal normally does not do ‘sweet’, but then her choice in film roles have always been varied and she pulls this role off without much effort.

Robert Duval is always gob smacking and so is his brief appearance in this film. One of the best scenes is the fishing boat scene. Apart from the beautiful scenery, the dialogue between Duvall and Bridges are priceless as they fish, anchored in a little boat on a lake. Bad admits that calling his 28-year old son for the first time in 24 years was a mistake. His son wants nothing to do with him.

Wayne (Duvall) disagrees. He says leaving his son was a mistake, and staying away for 24 years was a mistake, but that calling him was the first ‘right thing’ he has done.

Best one liner

Bad complements Jean on her beauty in a motel room by saying, ‘I want to talk about how bad you make this room look.’

Something interesting

Both Bridges and Farrell did their own singing.