I wanna talk about how bad you make this room look
I love country music. I’m also very fond of Jeff Bridges, so I was particularly well disposed towards Crazy Heart, the film that’s already garnered him an Oscar nomination, as well as one for his co-star Maggie Gyllenhaal. Based on a novel by Thomas Cobb, it’s the tale of one Bad Blake, a whiskey-sluggin’, geetar playin’, fading country music singer whose star has fallen so low when he first hits the screen that he’s playing bowling alleys for cash. And then he meets a younger – waaaaaaaay younger – woman, which encounter might make you feel a little squirmy if it didn’t seem so strangely credible. What makes the viewer suspend disbelief in this unlikely love is the undeniable charm of a 57-year-old chain-smoking alcoholic who tells a pretty girl, perched on the sofa of his cheap motel room: “I wanna talk about how bad you make this room look.”
If Crazy Heart’s been on your radar at all, you may be aware that Castleknock’s own Colin Farrell plays Bridges’ nemesis, the younger, hotter country star Tommy Sweet. I don’t mind telling you I fell off my chair laughing when he first appeared, so incongruous was the sudden sight of Farreller cowboying into an Arizona bar, though in his defence he makes a fair fist of his brief appearances here. He even sings: it’s Farrell’s voice you hear belting out from the stadium stage, and Bridges’ aching vocals are the ones curling around the film’s signature tune. The music and Bridges’ fine performance aside, one of the best things about Crazy Heart is Robert Duvall, who steals one scene in a fishing boat with some simple, sweet lines. There may be a few hackneyed moments – this is country after all – but like the music that threads through it, winds around the arid landscapes and soundtracks so many beautiful skies, there are many more that are searingly, achingly human.