Bob Balaban's dark comic horror about a young boy suspecting his suburban parents to be cannibals
Jeff Bridges stars as romantic anti-hero Bad Blake in the country music drama that marks the directorial debut of writer-director Scott Cooper.
At time of writing, Crazy Heart looks set to provide Jeff Bridges with an Oscar for his portrayal of boozy country rocker Bad Blake. It's a role that as well as getting under the skin of an whisky-soaked, aging, stubborn musician, also serves to remind audiences and industry alike how much we all like El Duderino himself, Mr Bridges, with his shaggy dog whiskers, lined face and burgeoning gut. The man's just so obviously a legend - go on, give him some silverware.
The film itself doesn't quite match up to Bridges' performance, being a fairly conventional tale of an addled man seeking and achieving redemption, inspired by a good woman, bullet pointed by a selection of country music numbers which rattle along tunefully enough. Bridges is far and away the most convincing reason to see Crazy Heart - the man's a cast-iron load-bearing girder in an otherwise slight construction. He plays opposite an Oscar nominated Maggie Gyllenhaal, who despite the Academy nod, seems miscast in a role in which it's much easier to imagine an earthier, more world weary actress.
There's one other treat in store in the form of a small cameo for the oft-maligned Colin Farrell, who is brilliant here as the slick young pup on the rise requiring lone wolf Bad Blake to provide him with the new material that will cement his place in the country music stratosphere. Farrell, in a tiny role, nails a man smart enough to know when he's selling out and practical or cynical enough not to care.
Throw in gorgeous US skylines, Robert Duvall as a bar tender and a tiny but winning moment with the ever-reliable Beth Grant (Donnie Darko) as a trashy groupie and you've got yourself an entertaining evening, if hardly an all-time masterpiece.
An affable, entertaining film that rarely surprises but brings a smile to the face through the sheer charisma of its leading man.
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On Film4: 15 December 2013