Friday, March 19, 2010

CRAZY HEART - sanitised

CRAZY HEART is an earnest and handsomely made film from debutant director Scott Cooper. It's a simple story about an old country singer, reduced to playing small gigs while his mentee plays stadiums. He falls for a well-meaning, likeable young woman, and is finally compelled to seek help for his alcohol addiction when he imperils her son. The movie has an air of intimacy thanks to Scott Cooper's predeliction for warm tones, close-ups and lingering shots. It has an impeccable country score, masterminded by T-Bone Burnett, and played out by Jeff Bridges as the ageing Bad Blake and Colin Farrell as Tommy Sweet. But there is no "wow" factor - nothing that makes you think this is an Oscar-winning movie or an Oscar-winning performance. Sure, Jeff Bridges turns in an affecting performance, but where's the savage psychological daring of THE WRESTLER? Where's the hurt and hopelessness and sheer Sisyphian pain or endurance? Nah. CRAZY HEART is soul-bearing-lite. It's grinds through its gears, and we reach the end, still basking in the honey glow of an all-too-easy conversion to sobriety, as cheerful as the cute little kid. It's too easy. Too sanitised. Too forgettable.

Additional tags: Barry Markowitz, T-Bone Burnett, Stephen Bruton, James Keane, Thomas Cobb, Scott Cooper.

CRAZY HEART was released in 2009 in the USA. It is currently on release in the UK, New Zealand, Mexico, Norway, Belgium, France, the Philippines, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Malta, Argentina and Turkey.

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