True Grit (2010)

May 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn and Hailee Steinfeld in the Coen Bros.' True Grit

Adapted for the Screen and Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen

Starring Hailee Steinfeld, Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon

The beauty of the Coen Bros. take on True Grit is in the simplicity of the effort. There is no twistiness to the story nor is there double-talk to the dialogue- it even lacks a mystery. Just a simple premise; a girl’s father has been unjustly killed by a conniving thief and she is determined to bring that thief to justice by any and all means. Rooster Cogburn is the U.S. Marshall she hires to assist in this endeavor, Matt Damon is the Texas Ranger in lockstep with them in pursuit of the same man over previous crimes and there are an assortment of criminals and common folk they encounter along the way. That’s it. It’s a simple film and it’s beautiful.

Jeff Bridges is perfectly cast as Cogburn, elevating the role from a John Wayne caricature into a slightly more finessed stand-alone character and Matt Damon is a perfect foil- A man who is sure of himself but not entirely skillful. The true gem of the film is Hailee Steinfeld as the 14 year old daughter in pursuit of the killer. She is mesmerizing and steals all her scenes. From her mature-beyond her years self-assuredness and intelligence, to her excited nature which expresses her true age- shes wonderful to behold and is the true star of the film in every sense.

The Coen Bros. have yet again crafted a new classic made up of an unexpected assortment of actors with deftly skillful writing, editing and direction that raises the game of the genre they’re playing in. Highly recommended return of the no frills western.

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