Thursday, December 26, 2013

234 of 1001 Movies: True Grit (2010)

True Grit isn't a remake. It's another adaptation from the novel that the story stems from. No one ever calls another Romeo and Juliet movie a remake of another one, so it shouldn't be done here. True Grit is good enough to stand on it's own two feet without comparison. The cast though is what brings this movie to life, along with a great score that adds that Western feel. It's one of the better modern day Westerns to have been made, and it shows that the Coen brothers can dive into almost anything.

Summary: Mattie is out to avenge the death of her father, who was murdered by his hired hand, Tom Chaney. She hires U.S Marshall, Rooster Cogburn, who is known for being one of the toughest there is. He doesn't show mercy. Tom Chaney isn't only being hunted by them though, but also a Texas Ranger who is out to bring him to justice for he death of a senator. They consider teaming up to find him, but their differences also are pulling them apart. If they can find a way to work together though it will prove easier to take down Chaney.

Acting: The acting is great from the cast. Hailee Steinfield seems to not have found her stride since True Grit, but in this movie she portrays Mattie, and shows great potential for an up and coming actress. She plays it with attitude, but also with the naivety that would be natural for someone who is still very much a kid who doesn't quite know what she is getting into. Jeff Bridges is in one of his best roles he's done as Rooster. The guy starts out as likable, but someone who seems very isolated, but as the movie goes on his scenes with Mattie become quite touching. Matt Damon is LaBoeuf, the Texas Ranger. Damon also is in one his better roles as well, and shows a very diverse range as this character. Josh Brolin is also in the movie, but not as much as the others as Tom Chaney, and to be honest I almost didn't even recognize it was him.

Filming: Another strong aspect is the filming. The movie has some of the most brilliant shots you'll see with the imagery. Right at the beginning you have the shot of Mattie's father on the ground at night under a light that cast him in a glow in the dark while the snow is falling, and it's a scene that you won't forget. It's a good way to start the movie so you're interested even as the first hour gets into a lot of the character development needed before the action comes in in the last hour. The color pops, and the shots do reflect the Coen brothers, but this movie seems to allow itself more room to grow on it's own without trying to be a Coen brother standard movie.

Plot: The plot has some unique things I like about. None of the men in this movie are pretending to be better than the other. Everyone is pretty heavily flawed, but the it's the way that Rooster treats the girl that makes him this character you really like. He almost becomes like a father figure to her during the time they spend together, and it's very rare you see movies like this where movies reflect a father and daughter role. Even in family movies it's rare, and feels forced when it does happen. Here the natural bond they make feels real and sentimental. Even LaBoeuf comes back to be a better character. The authenticity of the characters is what makes the movie more likable.

True Grit is a well shot movie with good acting. It knows how to pace itself to set it up for an ending that is more emotionally gripping. It's also likable for a wide range of audiences that don't just like the oddness of other Coen brother movies. Instead this one allows itself to let the characters get a little more real, and even normal.

Rating 8.5 of 10.

True Grit (2010) on IMDb

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