So this weekend, I finally saw Scott Cooper's directorial debut, and three-time Oscar nominated film Crazy Heart, starring the impeccable Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Crazy Heart is the story of a washed-up country musician, the infamous Bad Blake (Bridges) whose life has been boiled down to playing at bowling alleys, drinking his favorite whiskey, and watching his once protege (Colin Farrell) become a country music superstar. When he meets a local reporter (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who struggles as a single mom, Bad stikes up a romantic involvement that helps him rediscover the reasons for living, and write the song that will reboot his career.
Crazy Heart is a heartfelt journey about the story of a man looking for a second chance, a classic American frontier tale that is twisted up in the changing scenery of a modern world. Scott Cooper, for this first time out, as shown us a lot of promise with this tale that effortlessly combines music, humor, and a great cast to makes what could have been a boring and familiar tale into something deeper and more entertaining than it had any right to be.
Colin Farrell and Bob Duvall are fantastic in their limited roles, adding some depth and perception beyond the two main characters. Maggie Gyllenhaal is a revelation as always playing the tough, yet wounded heroine, whose own life eventually mirrors that of Bad's.
The music, from the great T-Bone Burnett never fails to entice, and The Weary Kind is a classic for the ages.
But the true savior of this film is, of course, Bridges. His gruff, yet charming, anti-hero, yet somehow heroic characterization of a man rediscovering his life is pitch perfect, from the drawl to the noticeable shuffle and alcoholic's cough. Bridges brings decades of experience and acting subtlety to what, in this humble blogger's opinion, is the role of a lifetime. If there is any justice in the world, Bridges will finally get to stand on that podium at Kodak Theater and accept his first, and long overdue Oscar.