True Grit [2010]

True Grit [2010]

True Grit [2010]
Directors: Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
Genre: Drama/Western
Language: English
Country: USA

True Grit is the famed Coen Brothers’ re-imagining of the novel and 1969 film of the same name. I haven’t seen the original film (or read the book) so I went into the theater knowing very little about this movie beforehand. The story follows a 14-year-old girl, Mattie Ross (the debuting Hailee Steinfeld), who sets out to avenge the death of her father by Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). She obtains help from the unlikely pairing of the one-eyed alcoholic U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) and the clean-cut by-the-book Texas ranger LaBoeuf (Matt Damon).

This is a Coen Brothers movie through and through. The dialogue is razor-sharp and full of wit and humor, with a significant portion of it coming from the snarky Mattie Ross. Between her and Cogburn, there are plenty of memorable one-liners. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of dark humor in this film. All of the characters are well-crafted and are aided by an absolutely outstanding cast. Hailee Stenfield is remarkable as Mattie, and it is hard to believe this is her first feature film. She is sure to get a lot of work after this performance. Jeff Bridges is excellent as always — he sure has perfected the old drunk role, hasn’t he? If I had one complaint about his performance, it is that he was almost *too* good at playing the slurring drunk since there were moments were I had difficulty understanding what he was saying. It should also be noted that Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper really delivered as the “bad guys” in the movie, although their roles were unfortunately rather small.

True Grit is a strong addition to the Western genre, and it has me intrigued to see the 1969 original as well. The movie doesn’t really do anything new, but it is very well-made with an incredible attention to details of its time period. True Grit is a great story of revenge and unlikely camaraderie, and it is highly entertaining. Definitely recommended.


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