Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Short Review of True Grit (2010)

True Grit is a quintessentially Coen Brothers movie.  It's crammed with richly rhythmic language and is bleakly beautiful with flashes of dark humour and light whimsy.

It's also their first proper western and their second remake after the the disappointing Ladykillers.  This new True Grit is a very different and arguably far superior animal to it's 1955 predecessor.  Much attention was focused on Coen stalwart Jeff Bridges' performance as grizzled marshal Rooster Cogburn but 14 year old Hailee Steinfeld more than holds her own.  Her depiction of the revenge-set daughter aged before her time by the murder of her father is funny, touching and remarkably assured.  Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and and a wonderfully eccentric supporting cast populate a sparse and coldly beautiful landscape.
True Grit 2011-style is an excellent film but two things hold it back from greatness.  Firstly, the ending feels somewhat contrived and almost un Coen-like in it's neatness.  Secondly, having Jeff Bridges in a major role is a reminder of the last time he and the Coens played out; the peerless The Big Lebowski.

Rating:  ****

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