Thursday, 23 June 2011

Best Actor 2009: Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart

Jeff Bridges won his Oscar from his fifth nomination for portraying 'Bad' Blake in Crazy Heart.

Crazy Heart is about a broken down country singer who has a chance for redemption due to the love of a woman, wait a minute did I not already review the exact same film Tender Mercies. Oh wait Tender Mercies has poignancy, brilliantly understated moments, a true sense of place, Crazy Heart has some sex scenes, some vomiting, and some pretty obvious moments attempting to be dramatic, my mistake.

Jeff Bridges is that old broken down country singer in this one, although not as broken down as he really could be he still gets plenty of jobs, although in rather small venues, but still gets to open for his old protege . His major problem is his constant drinking that is slowly destroying him. Bridges is good in portraying his broken down, he most certianly looks haggard, and warned down from his troubled life.

I think this performance is almost limited in a ways because so much focus is put on the troubles of his life, requiring Bridges to do a lot of falling down, as well as vomiting, and as well as looking sick for awhile. He is always good in his portrayal of the condition of his character, but it is not exactly a fascinating thing to watch that is for sure.

Bridges though is required to present how he got there, and his whole relationships he had beforehand particularly his relationship with Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell), which I think Bridges perhaps overplays a little bit. I always felt that Bridges suggested that Sweet had done something that really wronged Bad, but in fact when he finally meets him it is clear he did not. Bridges really makes it seem something major, rather than just hurt pride because he is opening for his former student.

His most important relationship is with Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal) a reporter whom he falls in love with. This whole relationship is not all that believable. They frankly jump too quickly in it, and the two performers frankly needed more chemistry to make it fully believable. She decides to sleep with him just a little too quickly for it to be fully believed, especially how she acts defensive later on in the film.

I really feel they do lack chemistry, but Bridges is not bad in these scenes, because he still has ample charisma, and charm in them even if it does not amount to as much as it could if the film was better written and directed. Bridges can't quite make the connection with Gyllenhaal, leaving it lacking, I really think it is mostly the script, and actually Gyllenhaal as well who seem to be the problem.

Jeff Bridges performance though is good in showing Bad's troubles as he desperately tries to improve himself but is just unable to make the leap completely. He is successful in portraying the pain that has been with him for a long time, particularly in the scene where he calls his son, or in his scene where he tries to ask Jean for forgiveness.

It should also be noted that Bridges is convincing as a country singer, he sings well, has the right look and manner as well. He is not amazing as a singer but properly realistic. He mostly just sings the songs competently until at the end of the film where he sings the weary kind, and in that scene he really infuses his soul and that does work quite effectively.

I can't say I was ever amazed by this performance. Some of it comes from the weaknesses of the film, which there are plenty of. This film hinders him in creating a truly memorable characterization, as well there are few missteps in his performance. Bridges' strong presence certainly shines through, and what he does get right, he really gets right. Never an amazing performance, but certainly a good performance.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love how quick you have been with these, brilliant job. I really liked the performance, you never get a sense of 'acting' just a natural charisma that helps progress the story

RatedRStar said...

I so agree, the performance is great and is way better than the film itself

Sage Slowdive said...

I found him to be very weak in certain scenes - he's an actor who has gotten so overpraised, I don't understand it.

RatedRStar said...

I think it might be because his had so many nominations, and because he is generally considered one of the more well liked hollywood actors due to his laid back nature

dshultz said...

He shoulda gotten his Oscar for playing the Dude.

joe burns said...

He's okay, but I found him nothing special.

Anonymous said...

I very much agree with your review, good but nothing outstanding and it was obviously a career award!

dinasztie said...

He was great, but with hindsight, I would vote for Jeremy Renner. And easily, I might add.

mrripley said...

Not bad but duvall did it better in 83 and what the hell was maggie g doing giving us no reason why she fell hard for this man then full of indignation when he screws up,she knew what he was and her final scenes blah,she robbed moore and kruger

Louis Morgan said...

She certainly did.