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True Grit

A movie directed by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen

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True Grit

  • Dec 20, 2010
Rating:
+4
The Coen Brothers know their way around a film. That much has been established over the years. And after a few films that were not seen by too many, they return to the West, but this time around with the clock set back a few years.

True Grit is based of the 1968 novel of the same name. And while it shares its source material with the 1969 film that won John Wayne his only Oscar, it would be unfair to call this a remake. Lost is the tone of the previous film, it loses some of the laughs and but increases the darker parts of the Western lifestyle that was featured in the novel as Wayne still had an image to maintain and could not be as dirty as the original text intended.

That is not to say that this movie is not heavy on some outstanding deadpan writing and delivery, far from it. The Coen Brothers excel with their character introductions showing in the first frames what we can expect the rest of the way. Our first introduction to Rooster Cogburn sets the tone and his scene in the court room goes on to solidify it. He shows off a great balance of comedy and badassary that only Jeff Bridges could pull off, The Dude was the perfect replacement for The Duke.

This movie also differs with the original in that it does not revolve around The Duke/Dude, but rather a 14-year-old girl. Usually I can't stand child actors but Haliee Steinfeld does a fantastic job as Mattie Ross, who is looking to avenge her father's death. Her introduction to the audience features a confrontation with a store clerk over money. In this scene she proves that not only can she hold her own in the Western frontier, but this young actor belongs in the company of these big time Hollywood names. 

Not enough can be said about how the Coen's handle this movie, their strength lies not only in their writing but in their ability to gather the best talent to achieve their goal. Cinematographer Roger Deakins highlights the Western backdrops, both its vast frontiers and deep inside the forest. Carter Burwell uses an elegant score to highlight some of the more serious notes in the movie. Thankfully the music in this movie is all instrumental and the people behind the camera choose to leave out the singing cowboys. 

Much like any movie that takes place in the old West and involves searching for someone across great distances this movie does have a tendency to drag on. But all the points prior should make up for this. If you are either a fan of the Coen Brothers, a fan of the actors, or a fan of the genre or any combination there of you should enjoy this movie. B+

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January 12, 2011
Great review, Z! Thanks for differentiating this between the book and 1969 film. Very interesting thT you say it's unfair to call this a remake. I'll have to catch both to see exactly what you mean!
January 12, 2011
I liked the darker content of this one. It has a more real feel to it.
 
December 23, 2010
Yeah, I think it was a great idea for the Coens to go for a re-adaptation of the novel rather than remaking the John Wayne classic. There were similarities, but I prefer this remake. Thanks for the great review!
 
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More True Grit reviews
review by . December 23, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I have no idea how many times I have stated the rules for filming a movie that remakes an iconic original. Well, if you’re one of those folks who’ve never read any of my reviews before, they are quite simple: 1) It must broaden the scope that is covered by the original film while adapting it for a much more modern audience. 2) It must follow the essence and the spirit of the said material (in this case the book). 3) It should pay homage to the source material and/or the original film.   …
review by . December 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Our Christmas movie this year was True Grit, which we saw in the late show Christmas night just before the first Christmas snow in Raleigh in 60 years shut down the town.  We followed that up with a viewing (my first!) of the 1969 original starring John Wayne and Glenn Campbell.      I recently read and reviewed Charles Portis's novel, which I rated +5 for Mattie Ross's spare language of guarded emotion that tells us more about her than pages of florid description …
review by . January 15, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Nothing in this world is free… except the grace of God.
With that, the movie begins.      Let me say this about movies. It is neither my lifeblood nor life passion. It is simply one form of entertainments for me. And since I moved to China a few years ago, I barely need to pay much for it. Believe me, very little, hehe...      So, I got my fair share of movies. Some good, some darn lousy. I don’t normally waste time writing the lousy ones. To me, they are not even worth a minute of my life writing about …
review by . February 15, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
***1/2 out of ****     "True Grit" is the latest offering from the legendary geniuses that are the Coen Brothers, and upon finishing the film, I can't help but admit that I was indeed quite "wowed". I went into this film expecting no particularly big surprises; and left feeling provoked and shocked by just how different this film was; at least from what I expected it to be. But the second adaptation of "True Grit" is still a damn good one, and in a number of ways, I enjoy it …
review by . January 24, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
The Coen Brothers are not usually known for doing purely genre films.  There's usually a semblance of several genres mixed together when they do a film.  To see them do a purely western is something of a curiosity.  After all, there are reasons why a western, of all genres, might turn heads.  In the first place, it has been years since a fantastic western actually showed up in theaters (perhaps the last truly good one was the 2007 remake of 3:10 to Yuma), but more than that... …
review by . December 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
   If you had asked me a month, maybe even a couple of weeks ago what my favorite film of the year was going to be, without hesitation I would have said Christopher Nolan’s Inception. I knew that Tron Legacy and True Grit were coming up, and I had a feeling that the latter had a good chance of making my top ten or even my top five, but I had no idea it had this great of a chance. In fact, it might just be giving Inception a good run for its money. This is one of my favorites of …
review by . December 30, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
   The Western genre is a perennial of American cinema. Sometimes very popular, sometimes just sort of “there”, but never going away. In recent years we’ve seen Westerns like Unforgiven and 3:10 to Yuma, both of which are great examples of what the genre can do when it’s being worked by someone who really knows what they’re doing. Now to this list we can add True Grit, directed by the Coen Brothers. As with their other films, it’s not just a fine example …
review by . December 29, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
There’s a scene in both versions of “True Grit” in which Deputy Marshall Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn tells fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross about his ex-wife and his son, who he hasn’t seen in years and expects to never see again. As portrayed by John Wayne in the original 1969 version, we see an actor delivering his lines. As portrayed by Jeff Bridges in the 2010 remake, we listen to his garbled, drunken inflections of speech and realize that he’s the full …
review by . December 23, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Or should that be "The DUKE" now?      He sleeps in the back of a Chinese Grocery, he gets so drunk he can't remember details during a trial and you'd be surprised that he can even ride his horse facing the right direction and risk looking like Dudley Do-Right but under that unshaven face with only one eye, those whiskey fueled synapses still fire and if you're on the wrong end of his Winchester, your a dead man.      The Coen's remake …
review by . December 30, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
4 stars : Retribution is coming
Watching the Coen Bros' "True Grit”, you are endowed with a strong sense of nostalgia you get this feeling that you are being told a story that you have heard over and over again through out your life as a child. A story that you grew up on that you have told your friends, acquaintances  your children and your grandchildren and now you are telling it your children and your grandchildren only this time the story that has been handed down to you from past generations …
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True Grit is an upcoming 2010 Western film, written and directed by the Coen brothers and starring Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin and Matt Damon. The film is an adaptation of the 1968 novel by Charles Portis which was previously adapted for film in 1969. Filming began on March 2010 with an anticipated release date of December 25, 2010.
 
Bridges will play U.S. Marshal Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn. The character was portrayed by John Wayne in the 1969 film, a performance which earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor.
 
Mattie Ross, a 14-year-old girl, undertakes a quest to avenge her father's death at the hands of a drifter named Tom Chaney. Ross persuades an alcoholic marshal named Rooster Cogburn to join her in tracking down Chaney.
 
Ethan Coen said that the film will be a more faithful adaptation of the novel than the 1969 version.
 
“             It's partly a question of point-of-view. The book is entirely in the voice of the 14-year-old girl. That sort of tips the feeling of it over a certain way. I think [the book is] much funnier than the movie was so I think, unfortunately, they lost a lot of humour in both the situations and in her voice. It also ends differently than the movie did. You see the main character — the little girl — 25 years later when she's an adult. Another way in which it's a little bit different from the movie — and maybe this ...
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Details

Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Western
Release Date: 22 December 2010 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 110 min
Studio: Paramount Pictures
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