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True Grit

A movie directed by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen

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Remake or not, Coen's True Grit is one of the finest westerns of our generation.

  • Jan 4, 2011

Coen brothers are "guilty" of adding another great film to their collection. Based on the novel by Charles Portis and on the John Wayne movie from 1969, True Grit defines the exception of a "remake" to be better than the original. It's a great achievement in filmmaking, especially in times when westerns are no longer what once used to be. Coens developed a great story and found the right ingredients to capture the public's attention. The story (for those who did not read the book nor watched the first movie) is about a young 14 years old girl named Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) which engages in a journey to catch her father's murderer. Being educated at that period of time, she founds the necessary resources to approach the right men. In order to catch the criminal, she hires Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), a tough U.S. marshal and LaBoeuf (Matt Damon) which was a texan ranger. Within this journey, the relationship between these characters, especially between Mattie and Rooster evolve. I found friendship and honesty to be very well portrayed in the movie. It was really well written from this point of view. While it is somehow dark, the funny parts were enough to make me smile and enjoy even more the film. Judging the emotional state of the movie it's emotional core it's not only a narrative under layer but it's more than that because it touches you without "raping" the tears out your eyes. I loved the approach and the execution of the movie. It was really a breath of fresh air.

The acting was top notch. Jeff Bridges as the U.S. marshal did not only a great job but proved once again that he is a chameleon in terms of acting. This role was perfect for him, he managed to swing from kindness to badassness (if you allow me use this term). He balanced his performance and developed a great chemistry between him and the other leads. Should I mention his perfect accent?... No. I'll let you guys do that. Speaking of other characters, Hailee Steinfeld as the young Mattie does a terrific job. She has no fear on the camera, she delivers every emotional state of hers and each line with professionalism, probably the female breakthrough performance of the year. Let's not forget Matt Damon, one of the most underrated actors of his generation as LeBoeuf. He was mostly the fun part of the movie always delivering a good line when Cogburn seemed to be the rigid one. The only disappointing thing was Josh Brolin's character. He had only 3-4 minutes on the screen and I'm still looking forward to a great movie carried by Brolin's leading role. I feel that he could have been a more interesting character. It had no life and after the movie ends you kinda even forget you've seen him at all.

True Grit is also greatly shot. The cinematography really impressed me. Those large gray and yellow tinted landscape shots and those upfront close-face shots made me forget that this movie was filmed in 2009-2010. The lenses used were perfect and the decors and locations were chosen wisely. The music was the only thing that could have been managed differently. It was good but it's usage was rarely which made the movie a little bit shallow and slow-paced at times. Though there was intensity, the lack of musical notes in the background may make some shots to not feel so important while in fact they are.

Overall, True Grit is possibly the best movie this year. Possibly because with all it's beauty, it's engaging and intense characters, it's great acting and technical execution it kinda feels "old". Old because of the subject approached which might feel for some people to be boring or pointless. The movie however exceeds the expectations thanks to it's directing and oscar-worthy performances. Remake or not, Coen's True Grit is one of the finest westerns of our generation but I'm waiting on that original Coen brothers movie that will send shivers through my body. I want to feel "moved" not only pleased or glad while walking out of the theater.

Storyline/Dialogue: 9/10.
Acting: 10/10.
Art Direction: 9/10.
Cinematography/Editing: 10/10.
Score/Soundtrack: 8/10.
Overall: 9,3

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January 04, 2011
"...touches you without raping the tears off your eyes.." nicely done. I really liked this movie myself. I hope Bridges get at least a nomination for his performance and Steinfeld needs to be recognized!!
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 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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 …
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Julian Left ()
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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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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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