"A cinematographic bacon sandwich – simplicity is king!"
Country music. Two simple words, which conjure up a whole world that I have absolutely no interest in – a world of Cowboy Hats, chaps, line dancing and tobacco spitting. Imagine my delight therefore, when I found out that I would be sitting through two hours of cinema based around the twilight years of the country-singing career of ‘Bad Blake’. Thrilled wasn’t exactly a word at the top of my list.
Bafflingly therefore, not only did I leave the cinema feeling thoroughly satisfied, but I was actually slightly concerned that I was starting to become a little bit country myself! Despite living off past glories, being stuck in a rut of booze and fags, and moving from one down-and-out gig to the next, Blake still has his music. If you don’t find your feet tapping along at some point in this film then you must consider yourself rhythmically dead.
Story wise, “Crazy Heart’ is nothing out of the ordinary. Blake peaks (relationship with Jean (played by Maggie Gyllenhall)), falls from grace (losing Jean’s son, Buddy), before rising like a phoenix from the ashes (rehab, writing music again, making money). What is out of the ordinary is the performance of Jeff Bridges. Quite simply, this is one of the strongest performances I have ever seen on the big screen, and it really wouldn’t surprise me if he walked away with a little golden statue for Best Actor on 7th March.
Cinema done simply and done well is a very rare thing. ‘Crazy Heart’ has a simple but captivating story, a small but perfectly selected cast, and what has to be one of the strongest ensemble performances I have ever seen in a film, capped off with an utterly stellar showing by Jeff Bridges – cinematic storytelling at its best.