Dir Scott Cooper US (18+)
Jeff Bridges, for all his achievements, still hasn’t been celebrated enough. A technical actor (remember Starman?) who manages to make every gesture a perfect one, he’s tackled difficult material over a meandering career and always succeeded. So it’s right that this better-than-average country-singer tale did the trick at the 2010 Oscars.
‘Bad’ Blake, much like Bridges’s immortal Dude, is belly-acting: gutsy and, well, big-gutted. The number of times Blake is seen emerging from a pickup truck with his belt unfastened is almost a running joke. Rambling through a series of Texas bars and vomiting behind them, Blake is haunted by a musical protégé who’s become a huge star (Colin Farrell). His own glory days are long behind him.
Crazy Heart pairs this fascinating private strummer with a curious journalist (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who soon shares with him the affections of her daddyless young son. For the movie’s first hour, you perk up at the vibrations of sympathetic emotions. Upsettingly, though, someone’s decided that such intimate moments are not enough for a night of entertainment, so a manufactured kid-in-jeopardy climax and Blake’s rehab stint blow the mood. Until then, this is great.