29 December 2009

Crazy Heart

Written & Directed by: Scott Cooper
Full credits at IMDb

This is above all An Actor’s Showcase, and I’m so tired of those: films that think they can cut narrative corners because they make up for it with Performance. Crazy Heart is competently executed, but we’ve seen its characters before, just as we’ve tracked their journeys to redemption. Will [Maggie] Gyllenhaal inspire [Jeff] Bridges to start writing songs again? Will a doctor warn Bridges that the drinkin’ will do him in? Will a small child cause Bridges to re-evaluate his life? Etc. etc.

But there is pleasure to be had from watching Bridges work off of his fellow actors, whether it’s the sweet-smiled Gyllenhaal, the respectful [Colin] Farrell, or the grizzled [Robert] Duvall...But, you know, I respect Bridges’ performance, in which he grumbles to himself when he’s not growling at others, but I don’t really like it. Of course, it’s one of those oversized performances Academy voters love so, and it’s got a real chance of snagging an Oscar. But it’s so thoroughly conceived it starts to cross the line from messy, Method-y emotional realism into the meticulous design of Olivierian contrivance. Should we be congratulating Bridges, or the team that mussed his stringy hair and made him look positively Bukowskian (albeit with a cowboy hat)?

Keep reading my conversation with Benjamin Sutton at The L Magazine

Watch the trailer:

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