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True Grit (2010)


Jeff Nelson

True Grit (2010) is sure to satisfy western fans, including fans of the original.

True Grit (2010)
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Western films have gone back to the beginning of filmmaking. They used to be a lot more popular than they are now, of course. The original 1969 True Grit is known in many groups as one of the best westerns around. Most people who highly enjoyed the original became nervous when news came out that it would be remade. The modern remakes are butchering many of the original films trying to modernize it and losing what was originally important in the film. Luckily, the remake of this western has been placed in the hands of Joel and Ethan Coen and are sure to attract attention at the Oscars.

After her father is murdered by Tom Chaney, 14-year-old Mattie Ross hires Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn, an alcoholic U.S. Marshal, to help her exact vengeance. The pair is joined on their quest by Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, who is also hunting for Chaney to claim a reward. Even the original True Grit wasn't an original idea and is an adaptation of a book. I haven't personally read the book, but the Coen brothers wanted to create a film that's as true to the book as possible. The pacing isn't the fastest and it takes its time to bring depth to each individual character. However, the dialogue is extremely witty and well done. There's clever humor placed throughout and the lines are snappy and never feel out of place. A lot of hard work and dedication went into this script and it shows. If only more remakes put in this amount of effort, remakes wouldn't be so poorly thought of.

Through all of the work from the Coen brothers, the actors chosen handle the dialogue very well. Jeff Bridges had a lot of pressure placed on him to follow John Wayne's Oscar winning role as the alcoholic U.S. Marshal. While I'm not sure if Bridges' performance is enough to win an Oscar, I am sure that he does a great job with Cogburn. I can't see anybody else fitting into this role better than Jeff Bridges. Hailee Steinfeld performs as the young Mattie Ross and surprised me, to say the least. I had never heard of her before this, but her performance is ground-breaking. Mattie Ross has received the most witty and quick lines of all the characters. Steinfeld handles the dialogue and the accent with ease. Matt Damon is the Texas Ranger and fits the role perfectly. Josh Brolin's name is on the poster for the film, yet he's barely in it. He plays the role of Tom Chaney, but his character is only shown on screen for a very short period of time. However, Brolin delivers his role very well in the small amount of screen time he does receive.

The PG-13 rating originally worried me since the Coen brothers generally make films that are dark, violent, and well...gritty. Don't expect the same dark atmosphere that is seen in their previous films such as No Country For Old Men. The western atmosphere is definitely done correctly. There aren't many western gunfights, but the ones that are there are done well. Camera work is all fantastic during the action scenes. I can't imagine any western moviegoers being disappointed with the outcome of the visuals.

While True Grit (2010) isn't the best movie of the year, it's certainly very well done. The highlight of the film is the writing and fantastic dialogue. The pacing pulls away from the movie and may not keep the undivided attention of all moviegoers. The acting is superb all around. Expect this film to get a few Oscar nods, as well. True Grit (2010) is sure to satisfy western fans, including fans of the original.

My Rating = Four Stars

Next movie: And Soon the Darkness (2010)
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