After the murder of her father by Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) decides to hire a marshall to track Chaney down and bring him to justice. She finds Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), a grumpy drunk who has the reputation to be effective. She hires him and, together with Texas ranger LaBoeuf (Matt Damon) who has been tracking Chaney for a while, they set out to get justice.
True Grit is yet another proof of the Coen Brothers Rule: I love every second movie I see by them*. And True Grit is a second film. It was brilliant, with great performances, wonderful cinematography and a nice sense of humor.
If there’s one thing the Coen Brothers can do, is get the best possible performances from their actors (and keep the ensemble together). They do so again here: Jeff Bridges, though hard to understand sometimes, is great, Matt Damon hasn’t been as good since quite a bit, Josh Brolin made you regret that his role was so small, as did Barry Pepper. But it’s Hailee Steinfeld who captured most of my attention (probably because she just came out of nowhere). She can easily hold her own among that cast, no easy feat. [It still baffles me that her she was nominated for the Oscar as supporting actress… Don’t get that at all.]
The script was really good, though when Adult!Mattie gets too preachy it was a little annoying. But the dialogues work well and sound authentic for the time (I have no idea if they actually are). And there was a nice sense of humor about it all.
The cinematography was wonderful with beautiful shots of the landscapes and wonderful lightning and a very special, a little eerie atmosphere to the entire film.
I’m usually not a big Western fan (I have neither read the novel this is based on nor seen the John Wayne version), but the Coen Brothers not only managed to keep my interest during this entire film, but they actually made me want to check out the source material. So, maybe I’ll see my first Johny Wayne movie soon.
Summarising: See it.
*The list goes like this:
True Grit: Yes.
A Serious Man: No.
Burn After Reading: Yes.
No Country for Old Man: No.
O Brother Where Art Thou: Yes.
The Big Lebowski: Yes. (The Big Exception, more like)
I’ll probably watch Ladykillers next, because I missed it and I don’t expect to like it and then the next new Coen Brother film has the best chances to be liked, too. :)