Saturday, 15 January 2011

Film Review: CRAZY HEART (2009)

Director: Scott Cooper
Running time: 107 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

UK release date: 5th March 2010

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 15th January 2011.


I wasn’t too sure about this one at first. I’m not a great fan of country music for a start, but I do know a good tune when I hear one and those guys at the Academy can’t always be wrong, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I’m really glad I did! It’s a really great film with some cracking songs and some truly great performances. But more of my praise later, here’s a very brief summary first (summary haters please help unload the gear while I write the next paragraph - thanks).

Bad Blake is a country singer whose best days are behind him. He plays small bars, bowling alleys; anywhere he can get a gig really. Like many on hard times he has turned to alcohol to ease the pain, but it is clearly doing him no good. While playing in Santa Fe he meets journalist, Jean Craddock, who he begins a relationship with. She has a young son, Buddy, who takes to Bad and it seems things a looking up for the Country star. His agent calls him and tells him he has a gig in Phoenix, opening for his former protégé, and a very successful star, Tommy Sweet. At first he’s hesitant, but finally agrees to do the show. He talks to Tommy and Tommy offers to help him out by paying for any new songs Bad has written. The trouble is Bad hasn’t written any new material in quite a long time. On his way back to see Jean, Bad has an accident and is laid up for several weeks. During this time he begins to write again, but his alcoholism is about to rear its ugly head. Is Jean his salvation? Well, I guess that would be giving the game away, so I won’t tell you here.

First of all the music, as I said at the beginning, I’m not a fan of Country music, but I do know a good tune when I hear one, and there are several on show here. The original songs by both Stephen Bruton and T-Bone Burnett are spot on. So good in fact that I bought the soundtrack album. One thing I did note was that there is no incidental music which I found made the film a little sparse. Lots of dialogue can get a bit tedious without anything to break it up. Having said that, I guess it makes the viewer appreciate the performances of the actors more.

I am not surprised that Jeff Bridges won the Oscar for Best Actor for his part as Bad Blake; he is truly excellent in this. I must also give praise to Maggie Gyllenhaal as Jean Craddock; I thought she was really good as well. I will also give honourable mentions to; Colin Farrell as Tommy Sweet and Robert Duvall as Bad’s friend Wayne (he was also one of the Producers by the way). Both Jeff Bridges and Colin Farrell performed the songs themselves which, I think was, first of all, brave, and secondly, excellently done! Both could have a second career some day.

Over all, a really well made film with some great cinematography, the use of the landscape of New Mexico really stood out. Of course, the performances all round were excellent and only added to my enjoyment. It did fall a little flat in the third quarter where the story concentrates on the relationship between Bad and Jean, but I guess that’s because there are no songs in that part. Having said that, this is still a film I would still recommend to anyone! If you haven’t seen it, please do, it’s well worth a look.

My score: 8.4/10

IMDb Page:
Official Site:

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