Monday, February 14, 2011

True Grit

Remakes, don't you just love 'em? Generally, or course, no. In this case it's a no too, I adore them. This is a Cohen brother's film. It's a remake as we know of the John Wayne vehicle, but this sticks far more closely to the novel. Mattie Ross is a fourteen year old girl who's out to seek revenge for her father's murder at the hands of Tom Chaney. Mattie hires US Marshall Reuben 'Rooster' Cogburn (the inimitable Jeff Bridges)as she's heard of his true grit in such matters. Mattie has been warned off chasing Tom Chaney by LaBoeuf, (Matt Damon) a cocky and very proud Texas Ranger who is after Tom for his own reasons. After an underhand deal is made between Cogburn and LaBoeuf, the end result is that all three go in search of Tom Chaney and the leader of the gang, Lucky Ned Pepper. I am not a fan of Westerns, so what can I say about this film? Well, it's dang near perfect dagnabbit. The costumes and cinematography are breathtaking, transporting you to a time of difficulties and hardship. The script is tight, quirky and written in formal speaking style, which adds to the authenticity. It is also very funny in places, the gallows type of humour, obviously. It has all the Cohen brother's traits, but the style does not take over nor detract from the story. And the acting, oh the acting. Hailee Steinfeld is a revelation as Mattie. She is precocious without being irritating. She is smart without being cocky. She is overwhelmingly adorable, without being in the slightest bit cute. I hope this is not her finest hour. I have a feeling it won't be. What can you say about Sir Jeff of Bridges? He has the ability to show the worst possible of human traits, and yet still portray a sympathetic character that make you want to cry. Matt Damon's first venture into the Cohen brother's world is no less of a triumph. He plays the puffed up LaBoeuf with understated wit and pathos. Tom Chaney is played by Josh Brolin, the largeness of his face only rivalled by Javier Bardem. Tom is a thug who appears to have a low IQ and little compassion, but even he is not portrayed in a purely dark light. Barry Pepper plays Lucky Ned Pepper, again an excellent performance. I hope he didn't take method acting too far and really let his teeth decay to the foul extent they are in the film! This is truly a remarkable, magnificent film. If you can, do it justice by seeing it on the big screen. Is there any other way to see a movie? TRUE GRIT: Couldn't have picked a better title myself. 10/10.

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