Sunday, 26 December 2010

True Grit (2010)

Dirs: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men)
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper
USA, 2010

Seen: December 22, 2010 at AMC in ETX

Reason to see: Westerns are generally a yes for me, and this one was one my most anticipated films of 2010 lists

So, I kind of have a love-again and hate-again thing going with The Coen Brothers. Loved The Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo & No Country for Old Men. Hated The Big Lebowski & O Brother ,Where Art Thou. I at times want to avoid talking about their films to avoid getting lambasted by diehards. Thankfully, no such worries this time round because I thoroughly enjoyed True Grit (2010).

Word is that this version of True Grit goes more to the novel by Charles Portis than the 1969 film version starring John Wayne, but I didn’t notice too many differences – which is actually fine as this film version has all the fixings it needs. It stars Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross, a 14 year-old girl who is on a mission for justice against her father’s killer (Josh Brolin) with or without the help, aid and indifference of US Marshall Rooster (Jeff Bridges) and Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Matt Damon).

Mattie is an awesome character, and I think it’s kind of hilarious that one of the heavily billed boys-club films of the year is actually a film with a female protagonist. She’s smart, determined, practical and kind & helpful to boot. She’s a kind-spirited equal opportunist, which is a rather unusual character to see. Hailee Steinfeld goes a great job amongst the impressive male cast, holding her own each step of the way. I really enjoyed Jeff Bridges interpretation of surly Rooster, re-defining a John Wayne role is no feat to take lightly and what Jeff Bridges has done is great, I only worry that some viewers with less-than-keen ears might have some trouble making out the lovely-grumble-y growl-y delivery. How Jeff Bridges manages to be so unlikably likeable is one mystery I’m not sure I’ll ever solve, and within less than a week we have that not only here but also on the grid in TRON: Legacy. Fantastic. Matt Damon (Hereafter, Invictus) is also great here as the LaBoeuf, although I did find it odd that that’s literally pronounced “La Beef”. The three of them is one heck of an unlikely scenario under any sun, which is always a great place to go in a western.

True Grit is gritty and grisly, and doesn’t pull any punches. It’s harsh in the day light but it’s also soft in the moonlight. For every quashed moment in time there is also a glimmer of hope as well, the patience and power of persistence shines through and wins us over one ray at a time. There was one racial moment that I could have done without, but other than that it’s near perfect. It looks like the Coen’s won me over. Again.

Warnings: Violence

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'll buy it
I highly recommend it western fans and to Coen brother's fans

17 minutes of preshow including 4 commercials and 6 previews: The Adjustment Bureau, Red Steel, Rango, Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, Country Strong and Water for Elephants

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010


The Film Connoisseur said...

Dyin gto see it! I love the Coen's a bit more then you, I think they can do no wrong as far as films go.

The only one I didnt like of theirs was The Man Who Wasnt There, not my favorite. But everything else is a masterpiece in my book!

Have you seen A Serious Man? Wowzers. Awesome! And how's about Raising Arizona? Highly recommend it!

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Oh how odd, I actually liked The Man Who Wasn't There. Okay -like is a bit strong, but it had a great opening and was gorgeous to look at, and at the time - that was enough. I resisted A Serious Man, the previews didn't grab me at all. Maybe I'll see it one day though. Raising Arizona is definitely on the list though - I am looking forward to that one!

I hope you get to see True Grit soon! It's a great film.

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