[Review] True Grit

True Grit (2010)

Dir: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld,
Matt Damon

I must confess that I haven’t seen the original with John Wayne, so I can’t make a comparison, but I thought that this second adaptation of Charles Portis’s 1968 novel was fantastic: an enjoyable Western with strong acting, particularly from Miss Steinfeld, and a witty dialogue.

Mattie Ross is a determined, brave 14-year-old whose father was murdered by Tom Chaney. Mattie wants retribution and decides to enlist a US Marshal. She is given three names: one who is the best tracker, one who is fair and brings his prisoners in alive, and one who is merciless. Enter US Marshal Reuben J. ‘Rooster’ Cogburn, though I’ll let you decide which one of the aforementioned three he is.

Mattie and Rooster begin their search for Chaney and on their journey come across Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, a man who also has eyes on Chaney.

I am a big fan of Westerns – especially the Clint Eastwood/Sergio Leone films – and this 2010-released Western fits the genre perfectly.

True Grit boasts a strong cast and I thought that Steinfeld was superb. This is Mattie’s story, Mattie’s quest to bring punishment to her father’s murderer, so Steinfeld’s performance was critical to the success of the film. She did not disappoint. The chemistry between Steinfeld and Bridges was natural and, sorry to carry on about her, Steinfeld managed to hold her own against Bridges for the most part.

I was pleasantly surprised by Damon, though I believe that another actor could have taken the part just as well – man of the moment James Franco perhaps? I can’t quite find the words but, to me, Damon is too modern – he doesn’t quite fit the 1880s. However, Damon makes a good LaBoeuf as LaBoeuf is the focus of quite a few taunts which sort of suits Damon’s performance; I apologise for not being more coherent!

Flawed in parts – for one I couldn’t always make out what Bridges was saying – the Coen brothers have produced a strong film nonetheless. Westerns aren’t for everyone and I have to say that at my 7.15pm showing on Wednesday I was one of the youngest people there; the majority of people were around 25-55.

Big pat on the back to the Coen brothers, Steinfeld, Bridges and Damon.

True Grit‘s successes so far:

  • NOMINATED 10 Oscars
  • NOMINATED 8 BAFTAs – WON Best Cinematography
  • NOMINATED Two Screen Actors Guild awards

Image from runran‘s photostream.

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