True Grit (2010)

True Grit 2011

This is the second adaptation of the 1968 novel by Charles Portis, written, directed, produced and edited by the Coen brothers, and exquisitely shot by cinematographer Roger Deakins. Previously filmed in 1969, it starred the one and only John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn. Jeff Bridges was cast in the roll this time around, and proved to be the flawless choice for breathing a second life into this surly character. The 2010 adaptation stars newly discovered talent, thirteen year old Hailee Steinfeld, whose performance as Mattie Ross is absolutely mind blowing. Matt Damon plays Texas ranger, LeBoef, and does a superb job both annoying and winning you over. Damon is barely recognizable under the facade, so any association with the actor isn’t present during his performance. Each character is completely memorable and brilliantly executed. The adventure and the dialog are equally enthralling, and the film captures the unique spirit that seems intended for the story.

Mattie Ross intends to capture her father’s killer, Tom Chaney, and bring him to justice. She hears about a man with “true grit” who can get the job done, U.S. marshal, Reuben “Rooster” Cogburn. She hires Cogburn, a notorious trigger-happy drunk, to bring this man to justice and insists on making the journey with him. Against his wishes, she joins up and rides into hostile Indian territory in search of Chaney. With them is LaBoeuf, who has also been tracking Chaney because he’s wanted in Texas for killing a senator. The three of them contend with a number of characters that have that unique Coen Brothers spin. Told from Mattie’s perspective, the film begins and ends with her voice-over, yet it brings back the feel of a true western. The Coen Brothers intended to remain true to the novel, keeping the characters authentic, and they pulled it off impeccably.

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