Thursday, December 23, 2010

True Grit - Movie Review

I was worried that the Coen Brothers' version of True Grit would be a terrible thing but it turns out the new version holds its own while leaving the original undiminished.

Comparisons are inevitable. If you enjoyed the first version there's no reason why you can't like this version, too. While not as rousingly enjoyable as the first, I liked better this version's sense of hard realism. The original tried to pass off the Rocky Mountains around the town of Ouray but this time around, even though it wasn't filmed on location, we get more of a sense of what the Indian Territory was really like.

Jeff Bridges plays Rooster Cogburn as a shambling man full of faults and flaws but just the one you'd need to hunt down a killer in a pitiless land. Matt Damon does a nice turn as LeBoef as well. But much is being said about Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross and rightly so; she comes across as steely and determined while still retaining her softer side in the scene where she tears up at her deceased father's belongings. The haggling scene with horse-seller remains classic.

I don't hold with those who seem to think that the Coen Brothers brought their loopy sense of humor and ornate use of stilted, formal language to the story but that's always been there, in the book and in the original. The Coens aren't reinventing anything and stick no closer to the book than the original did - both movie versions take their liberties with the story but I liked how this one is told, like the book, as a remembrance of Mattie.

We saw a lot of pickup trucks in the parking lot, a lot of moviegoers wearing cowboy hats; I don't think they were disappointed with what they saw. I know I wasn't.


  1. It was fun to watch. Why did they release this during award season? Would have made a great release in a less congested part of the year.

  2. True Grit is on my must-see list before the Oscars.