I have seen two movies recently. "Crazy Heart" and "Shutter Island". No two films could be more different. The one thing they had in common was a strong leading actor performance.
Jeff Bridges plays an over the hill alcoholic country western song writer and singer in "Crazy Heart". This drunken main character has been done before; probably many times but memorable performances are Ray Milland in "Lost Weekend" and Jack Lemmon in "Days of Wine and Roses". I like Jeff Bridges but this film was not the greatest. It lost me in believability. 57 year old guy, out of shape, shaggy beard, whisky and nicotine breath. And the young reporter falls in bed and in love with him? Maggie Gyllenhaal did her best. But no way. Not believable. And to risk her son with him? Uh uh. I liked the music and I liked that Bridges sang his own music and Colin Farrell and Robert Duval. But the ?? love story left me cold.
"Shutter Island" is closely based on the book by Dennis Lehane, the author of Mystic River a very successful book to film. Directed by Martin Scorsese and staring Leonardo DeCaprio, this is a film of horror, darkeness and mystery. Since it is one of those films that you "dare not divulge the ending", it is hard to review. Having read the book, I looked forward to the movie and I liked it. My movie partner did not. Roles by Max von Sydow, Mark Ruffalo and Ben Kingsley add to the quality of the movie.
Seeing two strong male lead performances back to back; one a drunk and one an intense, distraught Marshall, demands a comparison. I would choose DeCaprio
Crazy Heart 2 and 1/2 **'s
Shutter Island 3***