And so here we are at the last MMP episode of 2009, unless, of course, a there's an emergency, late-breaking filmmaker interview (Mr. Scorsese, my calendar's open). Barring that, we're going out with a good 'un: Scott Cooper's finely crafted, astutely observed Crazy Heart.
This is Cooper's directorial debut -- not even a short film to his name -- and he's managed to wrangle some big guns in his support, including Robert Duvall as one of his producers (he also has a small role in the film), Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake, the former country-western star who's been beaten down by a life on the road; Maggie Gyllenhaal as Jean, the woman who opens Blake's eyes to the magnitude of his fall (and yet another richly-nuanced performance from the actress); and, in an uncredited role, Colin Farrell as Tommy Sweet, former protégé and present bête noir of Blake's. With great chemistry between Bridges and Gyllenhaal and a quiet, smart script that Cooper adapted from Thomas Cobb's novel, this is a fine alternative to 3D pyrotechnics and holiday treacle.
Cooper and I talked a bit about bringing the spirit of 70's filmmaking to the twenty-first century, and the challenges he faced in following in the footsteps of Duvall's Tender Mercies. Click on the player below to hear the interview.