Sunday, January 10, 2010

Crazy Heart

The Film: Crazy Heart

The Actors: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Robert Duvall, Colin Farrell, etc.

The Dealio: This could be a film about Merle Haggard or Townes Van Zant or Waylon Jennings, or any other of a number of enormously talented 'outlaws' of country music with tragic pasts and abbreviated lives. Jeff Bridges, once again, personalises the worn-in, dog-weary, hapless Everyman whom time has bypassed in favor of a younger, hipper type who is unafraid to appear in concert wearing two earrings. There is more than a whiff of Kris Kristofferson about Bad Blake and his song-writing, poetic gifts, so far, are the lone survivor of his boozy, spit-in-the-face-of-fate lifestyle. Then a chance for something more drifts across his self-destructive path in the person of Jane and her little son, Bud. Now, I never have 'gotten' why perfectly normal-seeming females are so attracted to something in these rusted husks of manhood, willing to place, not only their own safety, well-being and future into such a person's very unsteady hands, but also that of their kiddies. But I've seen this portrayed so often in the moving picture shows, that, well, it must be true, valid and maybe even commonplace.
What is not so commonplace- unfortunately- is such a sad, sweet song of a movie. There is seldom a wrong step-or note- anywhere along the way. And, although you may wish for a few things done differently, that would simply not have been true to the vision and the reality of this film.
In addition to Bridges' pinpoint perfection in the myriad tiny details, there are spot-on turns from Farrell and Duvall (who continues to tickle by simply playing himself and enjoying the heck out of it). Gyllenhaal, to me at least- struck the lone sour note, and that was not her fault. It was written in the script that she trust her precious son to the unreliable Bad...and, speaking as a mom, myself, this simply would not fly in real life; we all know that no good can come of this.
The music- this is always such a litmus test for me- was so well-done that you don't tire of it, even when you hear different takes on the same tunes several times throughout the life of the film. Great sign of really good choices here. And a little old slice of semi-redemption at the end. Who could- really- ask for more? Not I.

The Grading Session: 4.999 pengies out of 5; I am subtracting a smidgen for portraying a mom who describes her son as 'the most precious thing in my life', then lets a guy with a yen for the next whistle-wetter take the responsibility for this same child without turning a hair. Major no-no.

Lessons Learned: Beauty and poetry come from the most unexpected sources. And when they do, they can absolutely steal your breath right away from you.

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