PictureCrazy Heart excels on Blu-ray, coming to the High Definition format with a 1080p rendition in a widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio that is only marginally different from the movie's original 2.4:1 scope. Detail is unreservedly excellent throughout, from the close observation of Bad Blake's sweaty, drunken stage performances to the longer shots of the various venues, the picture remains largely devoid of softness, grain or defects. Edge enhancement is also non-existence. Bridges' haggard, straggly-bearded visage is perfectly represented, his ageing fingers also in keen focus. The colour scheme is surprisingly vibrant and broad, considering the dusty open range-style settings, skin tones sun-drenched (Maggie looks stunning), the few vivid colours there are represented extremely well, reds and blues looking especially strong. Black levels are also excellent, Bridges' often with shadow cast across half of his face, the image remaining generally strong irrespective of the lighting (even if a couple of the performances do occasionally relapse into marginally grainy territory with noticeable black crush). Overall it is a stellar film presentation of what is surprisingly substantial visual material.
SoundOn the aural front we get a nice little DTS-HD Master Audio offering that definitely respects the music side of this production. Every single one of Blake's performances is rendered well, the increasingly big crowds warranting louder and louder concerts, which means more surround coverage and frontal potency as the runtime elapses. You can hear every little crack in Bridges' convincing Country vocals, the thrum of the guitar and beat of the drums giving the tracks some nice bass elements and certainly bringing out the best from this mix. The effects are also well-observed, from the rattling, dying sounds that Blake's car makes to the bustle of the mall, or the hubbub of the Big City, but there is not a great deal in that regards to kick ass from the surrounds. The only real problem with the track is the balancing between the dialogue and the live performances. Sure, you expect the latter to be loud, but with Bridges' almost-constantly mumbled dialogue delivery (I know it's intentional, and it goes with his character, but he chews his words throughout) you do have to have that remote handy in case the volume needs to be tinkered with. It's a shame because you want to hear every word spoken by this rich character, and that is a harder task than it should be.
We get no less than thirty minutes of Deleted Scenes, perhaps more interesting with this kind of release because they offer up plenty of extra music. Unfortunately they're only presented in standard stereo, and it really shows. There's more from all of the central actors (mostly Bridges, but also Maggie, Farrell and Duvall), and a few nice scenes involved here (Jean sowing the seed for the later development of her career, Blake meeting his son and a relapse sequence) but nothing that truly stands out as justifying being included in the final cut. Fans of the music will be happy to have more on offer here.
Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Robert Duvall spend a few minutes discussing how they got involved in the project, their own personal interest in the subject matter, and what they brought to their respective roles. Unfortunately, at only 3 minutes in length, there is simply no substance to this soundbite-laden promo offering, and it just taunts us with what could have been, had these guys actually sat down and recorded a full length Commentary. There are also a few terrible trailers that play on start-up, along with the Theatrical Trailer that is available from the menu, as well as a Digital Copy of the movie.
VerdictCrazy Heart is a decent enough drama about a Country and Western singer's downward spiral and chance of redemption. The film is lifted out of mundane cliché and familiarity with other such movies that have come before it by a realistic look at alcoholism, some great song performances and - most significantly - by an Oscar-winning turn from Jeff Bridges. Perhaps not offering up the kind of brutal, introspective honesty that Mickey Rourke displayed in The Wrestler, Bridges similarly carries this whole thing, and is the real reason why you should not miss this movie. On Blu-ray it looks and sounds very good indeed, even if Bridges' mutterings can have you reaching for that remote on occasion, and a nice selection of worth-watching Deleted Footage rounds off a disc that fans should be content with. Newcomers who love Jeff Bridges, or the music, should consider this a blind buy; for anybody else the central performance earns it a recommended rental, at the very least.
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