It’s hard to believe Maggie Gyllenhaal got an Oscar nomination for this. She’s not terrible, but she didn’t seem to bring much to this role. I have not read the book, but I got the sense that there must have been some dramatic tinkering going on with Bad’s alcoholic bottom. Was it softened up to make him seem less reprehensible? If so, that was a mistake. Maggie’s reaction seemed somewhat out-of-line and threw the rest of the movie off the rails.
The one thing that surprised me was Robert Duvall – The whole movie was by the numbers, but his was the one role that offered a pleasant surprise. I couldn’t figure out how his character functioned in the story until it was revealed (and it wasn’t like it was a big Hollywood reveal, but more like I was surprised that his character was the one playing that part, a crucial role for these kind of films). I thought it would be Maggie or the agent guy on the phone. And for all the singing that Bridges does, I thought Duvall’s little spoken word song was the most poignant of all. Good call on adding it to the closing credits.