Crazy Heart (2009) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Drama / Music
Fox Searchlight || PG13 - 111 minutes - $39.99 || April 20, 2010
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2010-04-23


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Scott Cooper
Writer(s): Thomas Cobb (novel); Scott Cooper (adaptation)
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Robert Duvall, Colin Farrell


Theatrical Release Date: December 16, 2009


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Digital Copy


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Based on the Thomas Cobb novel, Crazy Heart is a movie that seems to go nowhere both in terms of plot and character and only within the final 15-minutes is there any sort of payoff. But the biggest draw for Crazy Heart isn’t with the story – which in itself is adeptly well made but mundane at the same time – or with the supporting cast but instead the only reason one might see it is for Jeff Bridge’s fine performance. However, the question is: is it Academy Award worthy?

Bridges stars as rundown country music singer Bad Blake, a man who makes his living going from one rust bucket town to the next singing at bowling alleys and bars. Blake is also an alcoholic, is in bad need of money, has a grown son somewhere out there and has a contentious relationship with a former protégé turned country music star, Tommy Sweet (COLIN FARRELL).

During one of his bar gigs in Santa Fe, New Mexico, he meets an aspiring journalist named Jean (MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL), a single mother who wants to interview Blake and get his story. While Blake isn’t too keen on revealing some of his personal issues, after getting a look at her, he agrees. Soon the interview turns into lust and infatuation for one another and a relationship is formed.

Life seems to be good despite his financial situation but all may not be well as Blake deals with his inner demons including alcoholism and a hopeful reconnection with a son he for all intent and purpose abandoned at the age of 4.

Crazy Heart is unfortunately a film that never fulfills the potential I think writer/adapter and director Scott Cooper wanted. The issue at hand isn’t with the cast or the performances as everyone does their best and I also know some criticize the film because nothing really happens but I like the almost true-to-life aspect. However, the problem is I felt nothing for any of these characters or for the material. After nearly two-hours the movie ends and the movie as a whole doesn’t stick with you immediately afterwards, forget about days after.

The big question though is with Jeff Bridges’ Oscar-winning performance: was it deserved? First, when you have a veteran actor like a Jeff Bridges, a man like that can sleepwalk through the porous of roles – see him in Iron Man, he wasn’t bad but this wasn’t a difficult performance, just one that needed some weight behind it – so when you get a role that is a bit of a cliché of the alcoholic has-been singer, it shouldn’t be too big of a surprise that he could deliver a fine performance. Did he deserve the nomination? I think so yet an easy win? I’m not so sure, though at this time I don’t think I could name that many better performances for 2009.

As for the supporting players, Maggie Gyllenhaal – who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award – once again is a breath of fresh air in what normally is a thankless role but much like Bridges, I never got a deeper sense for the character though it’s not Gyllenhaal’s fault and more so with the adaptation. Meanwhile, you do get some smaller but nice roles with Robert Duvall playing Bridges’ best friend and Colin Farrell in a surprisingly small part as the country singer rising star.

In the end, Crazy Heart is a nice little film with some good performances given attention thanks to Jeff Bridges Oscar win. Other than that, it is sadly also a forgettable movie that had so much more potential.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Deleted Scenes and Alternate Music Cuts (28:22; SD) – There are 10 deleted and alternate cuts included here, though none of them really amount to much if they had been included in the final film. However, it is nice to get them here. Also, the alternate cuts are ** Blu-ray Exclusives **.

Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal & Robert Duvall on What Brought Them to Crazy Heart (3:02; HD) – Well, you don’t get more descriptive of a featurette than that... Anyway, the three actors talk about their characters, the script and the movie overall. Given its only 3-minutes long, it’s not much which is too bad as all 3 are together rather than just snippets. This was made as an advertisement (as signified at the end that the movie is in theaters December), but it seemed like there was more, so not sure why more was not included. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Last up is the theatrical trailer (1:55; HD) and on disc 2, the digital copy (** Blu-ray Exclusive **) which is compatible with iTunes.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Crazy Heart is presented in its original 2.35 aspect ratio presentation and in 1080p high-definition (AVC codec). I was fairly impressed with this transfer especially since it is a low budget film. The picture is very well detailed throughout from facial close-ups to some of the background elements as well. There’s a discernable amount of natural film grain that gives the video a certain splash. Black levels are also pretty good throughout with some darker tones during the bar scenes that doesn’t wash out the characters.

The DTS-HD Master Audio track meanwhile is also decent enough. The movie might be filled with country music throughout, but the majority is dialogue driven so while it is not an immersive audio track compared to other Blu-rays, I was still impressed enough with it, even if it’s not overpowering even during the big concert scene near the middle of the film.



.::OVERALL::.

Crazy Heart may not live up to my expectations in terms of both the story and Jeff Bridges’ performance but at the same time it’s still a good movie, just one that should have been better. The film is competently directed as Scott Cooper incorporates the beautiful south and southwest landscape and while I’m not sure if Bridges lived up to the Best Actor statue, I can’t argue against it either.

As for the Blu-ray, the video is pretty good especially considering the $7 million budget and the audio is adequate enough. However, the disc fails to provide any good features. Where’s the featurette on filming in Arizona and Texas? How about a commentary with Bridges and director Cooper? Shame this didn’t get more features.