True Grit (2010)

True Grit is the newest film by Joel and Ethan Coen, based on the novel by Charles Portis and starring Hailee Steinfeld, Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper.

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)
Fargo: Yes.

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. :)

6 thoughts on “True Grit (2010)

  1. I don’t know that if I were you I’d rush out of my way to go get the John Wayne version – I felt this was more a “Coen Brothers Drama” than a “Western” in the traditional sense.
    There are many many MANY awfully dull Westerns out there. They tend to play up the whole bleakness thing instead of doing decent character development/performance, which you’re right, the Coens do really well, and makes this a much better movie than most traditional Westerns for my mind…

    • There have been so many awesome Western-y things in the last few years (or so it seems) that it might be time to revisit my stance.
      I’m hesitant about the genre as well, from what I’ve seen of it. But I figured I had to at least give it a try. Since my To-Watch-List is about a billion movies long though, it might take a while. :)

      • What libberrydwarf said.
        Most Westerns are dull. Some are dull and stupid, just to shake things up.

        If you really want to get a handle on the genre, you have to put in a lot of work. Or you follow this list:
        (If you do, make sure you add at one of the Terence Hill “Trinità”-movies – the ones where it’s him and Bud Spencer in the Old West, to see what the genre mutated into before pretty much dying for over a decade ^^)

          • well…if you’re gonna cut it down, make sure you watch “High Noon” (for the honour code), “The Searchers” (for the Duke), “Once Upon A Time In The West” (for being shorter than the Dollars-Trilogy ^^), and “The Magnificent Seven” (for the awesome. also Steve McQueen.)

  2. Pingback: Gambit (2012) | Stuff

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