For me, it was worth seeing Jeff Bridges’ new film Crazy Heart just to watch him return to the bowling alley, the setting of much of his performance as the Dude in The Big Lebowski. His character in this new film, Bad Blake, is even more washed up than the Dude, an alcoholic fading country star who doesn’t look after himself, reduced to playing at bowling alleys and no longer given a bar tab.
It’s a film that starts out with a few laughs, but these soon dry up, as it settles in as a conventional redemptive drama. A young reporter/ single mother played by Maggie Gyllenhaal offers Bad Blake new hope, but she is wary of his drinking. Can Bad Blake get himself together, come up with some new songs and keep the woman he loves?
I like the setting, the open desert roads, small bars and bowling alleys of the southern states. I like Jeff Bridges, a lot, also. And Gyllenhaal plays her part just right. It’s too familiar as a film and the narrative is a little clunky (the trajectory doesn’t seem right, it seems to slow right down in the middle and get lost) but overall it’s… almost good.