2 scenes that are worth the movie to me:
The phone conversation between Jeff Bridges and his estranged son. It’s short, monosyllabic, and perhaps you will not even notice it when it happens, but when I watched that scene, I was riveted. The “father who walks out on toddler then calls out of the blue twenty years later” is something that pops up often in movies, but I’ve never seen it dealt with in such an understated, plausible way. I think for me, the power of that scene was the unassuming way they revolutionized a cliche, with so little artifice. It was a simple phone conversation, but the acting on the part of both actors, the one you see, Jeff Bridges, and the one you only hear, was amazing. It was the very first time in my life that I noticed the acting of an actor I couldn’t even see. I was moved by his acting even though I could only hear his voice on the other end of the phone Jeff Bridges was holding.
The scene between Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) and Wayne, his best friend (Robert Duvall, my hero) fishing in the middle of a lake and having a conversation about Life is really a perfect scene. Perfectly written, perfectly acted, perfectly shot, perfectly lit. A stunning pleasure. It even kind of made me want to fish, which is saying a lot.
Of course Jeff Bridges is great, Maggie Gyllenhall is unbelievable…the kid is awesome, Colin Farel does a great job etc., etc., etc., all that is true. But the movie is slooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwww and paced in a very offbeat way, so it takes you by surprise. I just wanted to highlight two things you probably won’t be reading about in movie reviews.