Dir. by Scott Hooper - 1 hr. 52 min.
by Clayton Hollifield
Even though the set-up is not entirely original (I think I'd be disappointed if there was ever an aged straight-edge country singer), this movie plays out well largely due to Jeff Bridges' and Maggie Gyllenhaal's acting (of course) and some clever casting (Colin Ferrell as a country singer? Never would have guessed it, but he did a good job). This could have been an entirely forgettable movie, but the actors elevated "Crazy Heart" beyond that into something worth watching.
One thing I particularly liked was that "Crazy Heart" avoided the "rehab as instant fix-all" trope, if only barely. Bad Blake still has to take credit for what he did, even if he was generally north of the legal blood alcohol limit when doing it. There's a couple of other things I really enjoyed, too. I had no idea that Jeff Bridges could sing or play guitar, and that was a nice surprise. The other thing had a bit to do with direction and the idea of the "west" in general. I have no idea about where the director is from, but one of the distinguishing features of the western US is that there are vast, open spaces nearly everywhere. There were several scenic shots that emphasized that, and it was a nice touch. It also worked as a visual metaphor for Bridges' Bad Blake trying to de-isolate himself and reconnect with people.
3.5 / 5 - DVD