Review: True Grit (2010)

It’s so easy of falling into the trap of just comparing this with the 1969 Henry Hathaway version of Charles Portis’ novel, True Grit. The original is a truly excellent film with a fantastic performance from John Wayne, not really suitable for comparison to the 2010 Coen Bros version, because the Coen’s is so different.

The Dude being, quite frankly, awesome!

Set in the Old West, True Grit follows Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), a young headstrong girl seeking justice for the murder of her father by criminal Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). Ross tracks down the meanest and toughest US Marshall to help her track down Chaney, thus enters Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges). With the help of Texas Ranger, Laboeuf (Matt Damon), the three set of to capture Chaney, so that justice can be served.

The Coens always manage to amaze me how they can make such fantastic comedies such as The Big Lebowski and Burn After Reading, then suddenly turn their hands to something like No Country For Old Men and True Grit. True Grit is quite an excellent piece of cinema and the finest Western since Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven. Visually the film is stunning and makes use of the beautiful Texas and New Mexico locations. My hat goes off to director of photography, Roger Deakons, for such exceptional cinematography.

He’s not in it much but I like him
so here’s his poster!

The dialogue, like almost all the Coen Brothers films is sharp paced and witty, particularly from Steinfeld’s character, Mattie. With slight humorous touches which are never overbearing, the script remains consistently clever. The film features the perfect balance between action and drama and captivates the whole way through, thanks to some stunning performances.

The true weight behind the story is from young Hailee Steinfeld – I really could not find one criticism about her. It’s shocking to see that she is only 14 years old, you would believe she had been acting for countless years. Jeff Bridges delivers his usual high standard and doesn’t portray the character as an exact copy of John Wayne’s Rooster Cogburn. Bridges excels with his dry one-liners and very emotional performance at the end of the film. Also fine is Matt Damon, one of his few non-overly likeable roles, yet his character does begin to shine as the film gets going. Like Bridges, viewers have begun to expect a consistently high standard from Damon and he always delivers. Josh Brolin is also on top form, despite not being given too much to do with his character who only comes to prominence in the last segment of the film. Still it’s nice having him there!

If you’re going round looking to see all the big awards movies, don’t forget True Grit. Despite being slightly overshadowed by The King’s Speech and Black Swan, True Grit is just as high a standard and is not to be missed.

Leave a Reply