I'm posting this up the day after the BAFTA Film Awards, where Jeff Bridges did not win the Best Actor prize. Instead, Colin Firth won, for his performance in A Single Man. We'll have to see how the same category plays out at next month's Academy Awards, as Bridges seems to be the safe bet, as I discuss in my review of Crazy Heart below.
Is there an American cultural institution as peculiar to outsiders as country music? Perhaps professional wrestling. In that sense it is a shame that Crazy Heart, a dramatic star vehicle that features a down and out musician struggling with middle age and mortality, trails a year after The Wrestler, a dramatic star vehicle about a down and out wrestler struggling with middle age and mortality.
Mickey Rourke was nominated for an Oscar for his turn as Randy 'The Ram' Robinson, and Jeff Bridges' performance as Bad Blake seems the confident choice for this year's Best Actor winner. Rightly so, as Bridges commands the film, creating a character that is fully formed and believable. Unfortunately, the film lacks the power to support such a career highlight performance.
Blake opens the film playing a gig at a bowling alley (Big Lebowski fans, feel free to commence your laughter); he's in the musical gutter, pissing in bottles as he drives himself between venues. Unwilling to write new material and bitter about the success of his former back-up guy Tommy Sweet (an awkward Colin Farrell), Blake's tired career is slumped somewhere in between irrelevance and stagnation, with even sex with ageing groupies starting to get a little stale. That is until bonny single mum and journalist Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal) comes into the equation.
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