It’s another day in another shit hick town for country and western singer-songwriter Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges). The music business isn’t what it used to be; his schedule now consists of bowling hall and the back rooms of bars. Between the waiting in drab motel rooms and rehearsing with interchangeable backing bands, Bad drinks. Barely able to afford the bourbon he views as his lifeblood he relies on the kindnesses of old fans and ageing groupies.
Things begin to look up when he hooks up with a young music journalist and single mother (Maggie Gyllenhaal) but Bad can’t help living up to his name. Despite interventions from a former protégé turned country star Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell) and bartender Wayne (Robert Duvall), Bad is on a one-way ticket to rehab.
Based on Thomas Cobb’s novel of the same name, Crazy Heart is the kind of leisurely southern fried character study that went out of fashion with the Republican hijack of the C&W music scene in the Reagan years (Hal Ashby’s Bound for Glory and Michael Apted’s Coal Miner’s Daughter are clearly benchmarks). Crucially Crazy Heart is directed and adapted by an actor turned director Scott Cooper. It’s an acting masterclass: Bridges is remarkable, he is the film’s very doomed essence – breaking hearts with his ballads as he breaks himself.
General release from Fri 19 Feb.