Jeff Bridges gives a really great performance here as Bad; a country singer who’s chasing the success levels that he once had, in an industry that he’s growing somewhat disillusioned with. He’s self destructive and can’t seem to sort his life out, but then he meets Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal), and she may just be the person who can help him sober up and change his ways in time to save his career.
If the script managed to work as hard as Bridges did here then we could have had a deeply moving tale of redemption, unfortunately though it plays things very simply and safely. This isn’t a move which is necessarily flawed, if handled correctly then this could have really aided the material, but everything is so familiar and predictable that we soon find that it’s only Bridges performance that’s keeping us engaged. It never manages to quite slip into self parody, and don’t worry, there are elements to be enjoyed here, but overall this one falls a little short of expectations, which is a real shame.
Aside from Bridges, Gyllenhaal does a good job in her role but, much like the rest of the cast, she isn’t given enough weighty material to work on in order to produce something memorable. There are a few other famous faces that show up, such as Colin Farrell, and although his character is important to the film, he still feels underutilised and a little meaningless.
So, here’s a film that’s worth catching if your a fan of Jeff Bridges’ work and are looking for another great performance from this talented actor, but otherwise I would advise perhaps skipping this one if given the choice. There are promising moments, but they don’t amount to anything that isn’t merely an echo of better conceived redemption films. We feel that we’ve seen it all before – hell, they even put Jeff Bridges, aka The Dude, in a bowling alley. It was hard fighting Lebowski cravings at that moment I can tell you.