Tuesday, February 09, 2010

"Crazy Heart" (2009) - Movie Review

Why does a spiral to the eventual of a lost alcoholic celebrity brings the best in any actor? Is it because they can relate to it too well or is it just that good when the sorrow is a muse to an artist? What Mickey Rourke did in “The Wrestler” is Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart” and they are equal in putting their hearts to these men. They can never hold themselves together and they abuse their body and mind to the maximum. A psychological conclusion would be that their way to punish for their mistakes. Well, they do not realize whom they take along for that punishment.

It is always great in the golden days. Anything and everything of nostalgic value are considered as the times when things were best and the blunders seem like miniscule detail. Such is Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) a run down and riding disaster country musician. He has his days of glory and he sweeps that in the dusts of the Southwestern country. Now he is left to play in bowling alleys and not having money to get his own booze. Thanks to the old and loyal fans that they buy the man enough to go and throw up for the song they asked to play.

He has ego like a mountain but does not realize the dirtiness he lives in the cheap motels. He spites his once partner and protege Tommy. Tommy is popular and he cannot stand the sight and sound of that. He travels places and lands in Santa Fe where a beautiful local reporter beckons an interview and special attention. Single mother Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal) asks the questions he denied to answer or no one bothered to ask him. This might have been his regular one night stand but he likes her. More than that he likes her kid Buddy (Jack Nation). He realizes there is something special because someone cares about him. Having had bad marriage histories and in the state he is, Jean knows what she is getting. She is fine though to see the best side of Blake buried for a long time.

Bad Blake is not a mean man but a cliched broken down musician. He does not hate every one because he knows the ditches he took are his own choices. He is unforgiving towards himself and regardless sinks himself into the mud day by day. Bridges plays him like an ordinary man and more than that an honest musician. He does not bad mouths much about the drag the current country music industry has become and continues the bad run he acknowledges.

In “The Wrestler”, Rourke’s character carries similar integrity to the profession he loves. He knows whatever he has lost is partly due to the sport and reaches a point where punishment is the last thing someone wants. In “Crazy Heart”, Blake hits that point and his bounce back is not a winning story because there are purely two options at that moment.

And the faces are familiar but the people are someone else. They are not Colin Farrell and Robert Duvall but country music heart throb Tommy and an old bar owner Wayne. Both these men are as important as Jean in Blake’s life. Especially Tommy who tries to do good to his falling star. When Blake and Tommy meet, Tommy cannot see the man eye to eye and has a humility like any other. Despite Blake bites himself to open for him. When they perform for a song, there and then we see what these actors have become without informing us much.

Having said so much about the performances and the story, I do have to say that it is a film made before. The broken promises and the unforgivable slips does not come as a surprise because that is more so the story and in all possibility the real life taking its downturn on this man. While the emotions run high, “Crazy Heart” lacks the novelty Jeff Bridges and other actors bring into their characters.

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