Friday, December 24, 2010

True Grit

This really isn't a movie review, at least not in the traditional sense. It's just a few impressions of the film, which I believe will be considered as one of the better of 2010.

I persuaded The Saint I Am Married To to skip out of work early yesterday and into catching the early showing of True Grit. We have been seeing the trailers for months and I had put this on the top of my "must see" list. Even though we went early, the screening was well attended. I'm glad we went early.

True Grit is adapted from a western novel written in 1968. It is set in western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma in the late 1800s. It is about a young girl's mission to track down and bring to justice the murderer of her father. This novel had been previously adapted into a movie in 1969, one that starred John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn. Although I have never seen the first film, I can assure you that this is not your father's True Grit.

This one was directed by the Coen brothers and though not perfect, it is brilliant. It lives up to the Coen brothers reputation for producing well executed movies, thorough in every aspect with a natural balance of drama, tragedy, irony and humor.

It is extremely well cast, with near perfect performances by Jeff Bridges as marshal for hire Rooster Cogburn and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross, the affronted young girl. Matt Damon also did well portraying LaBoeuf, a somewhat fancy Texas Ranger. The relationship between these three characters is complex, with conflicting motivation, competition and dependency all factors that are explored and masterfully displayed by the cast.

This movie is also very well written, with remarkable dialogue highlighting the superbly developed plot. The Coen brothers wrote the screenplay and directed the movie. Their touch is evident throughout the film, Coen brothers fans will enjoy this latest effort.

My only snivel about this film involves a few minutes toward the end of the movie. It involves a few scenes which  which contrived to me and though they were used to show another side of Rooster Cogburn, they seemed added or unnatural to the rest of the movie.  The Saint didn't see it that way and blamed my unease in the matter as a manifestation of my snake hatred issue.

I thought it a great movie, one that lives up to it's pre-release hype. Catch it if you get the chance.

Thanks for reading,


  1. Well, now that you have seen the new one, you HAVE to go an rent or buy the original John Wayne version!

    It was the Duke at his finest as far as I am concerned and a superb film.

    I am going to see the new one, but I am going to definately be biased towards the version I have seen many times since I was a child..........

  2. That's good advice FC5, I am going to do just that. I want to read the novel as well, I know it's available at the Dirt People's Used Paperback Book Exchange.

    I understand that John Wayne received his only Best Actor Oscar for playing Rooster Cogburn in that movie. It will be interesting to see if Wayne's portrayal was that of such a flawed character.

    Have a good Christmas, thanks for commenting.

  3. I'm looking forward to seeing it once all the kids are back in school next week.

    Way too many people seeing movies during these two weeks of Christmas vacation. I like to see movies with very few people in the theater. Even better if I have my own personal showing.

    This one should be better.

    My wife Liz and I always argue about the relative merits of John Wayne's acting ability. I say he was really good at playing John Wayne, but other than that wasn't a very good actor. Jeff Bridges is.