Plot: What’s it about?
Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) has had a long career as a country music performer, but the road hasn’t been a smooth one. He enjoyed some success, but those days are long behind him now. He is able to eke out a living working at small venues like fairs and bars, but life has taken its toll on Blake. He has basically fallen into the bottle, drinking too much and letting his sorrows drown in the alcohol. In dire financial straits and with no new music written for years, Blake faces a cold, bleak future. A small glimmer of hopes appears when Blake meets a beautiful reporter named Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal). The two fall for each other, but Blake’s hard living and heavy drinking pose a threat to their future together. Can Blake pull his life in order to make sure Jean stays in his life, or is this just one more failure to add to the list?
I wouldn’t call “Crazy Heart” a great movie, but it does feature an excellent performance. Jeff Bridges is the reason you should seek out “Crazy Heart”, as his turn here is quite remarkable. He would take home a much deserved Best Actor Oscar for his effort, which is easily the finest performance of his career. And since Bridges has done some great work in the past, that is one hell of compliment for his turn here. Not that the rest of “Crazy Heart” is bad, but none of the other elements are even close to Bridges’ benchmark. The cast is well chosen and performs well, especially Robert Duvall in a small, but memorable role. The script is fine, cliched and predicable, but still fine. “Crazy Heart” breaks no new ground in terms of “one last shot at redemption” cinema, but Bridges takes middle of the road material and makes it shine. So while the movie as a whole is forgettable, “Crazy Heart” is highly recommended if only to watch as Bridges brings down the house.
Video: How does it look?
“Crazy Heart” is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This film doesn’t have a slick visual presence, but the detail is strong and upholds the intentional look of the picture. So no, you won’t be dazzled, but this looks great and just as the filmmakers intended. The colors look natural, while contrast is stark and consistent. so flaws are minor at worst. This is a terrific visual effort and while understated, that is how it should be.
Audio: How does it sound?
This DTS HD 5.1 option is good, but it is all or nothing with this soundtrack. When the music kicks in, the surrounds open up and provide a lively atmosphere. But when the music fades, the presence does as well and things get quiet. I mean to the point where you have to adjust the volume with the transitions, which isn’t fun. Aside from that, the track is fine however, even if the non-music driven scenes don’t have much kick. The dialogue is front and center when the music subsides and it sounds good, so no reason to complain too much. This release also includes subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release includes half an hour of deleted scenes, which prove to be well worth a look. I was pleased to find such great content within the deleted material, some memorable scenes in this section. You’ll also find a brief featurette, the film’s theatrical trailer, and a digital copy for use on portable devices.