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True Grit

A movie directed by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen

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It Might Be True But It Isn't Enough

  • Dec 29, 2010
Written and Directed by Joel Coel and Ethan Coen
Starring Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin
Rooster Cogburn: I’m a foolish man whose been dragged into a goose chase with a girl in trousers and a nincompoop.
To have grit, one should have an indomitable spirit.  For that grit to be true, one would need to subscribe to the theory that grit can achieve some sort of altruistic state of constant existence but that’s just not how grit goes, far as I see it. From where I’m standing, grit is something that, for those fortunate enough to have it inside, shows itself when life requires it, in those situations when you suddenly find yourself needing to get through something you can’t imagine getting through.  In TRUE GRIT, directors Joel Coen and Ethan Coen exhibit a whole whack of grit getting through their first “remake” but I’m not convinced they ever reached any real truth along their journey.
TRUE GRIT is said to be an adaptation of the Charles Portis novel and not the 1969 Henry Hathaway film that starred John Wayne and won him an Academy Award for his performance as Rooster Cogburn.  The role has now been appropriated by another Oscar winner, Jeff Bridges, and, while I cannot comment on the how the performances differ having not seen the original film, I can say that Bridges definitely lays down the law as a dirty boozer of a U.S. Marshall who has agreed to help one feisty, young lady (Hailee Steinfeld) find the man who killed her father, so that she can have him brought to justice.  Matt Damon plays a bounty hunter who is also looking for the same man and so the three reluctantly embark on their mission.  This is a western though so the pace of this mission is much more trot than gallop, leaving a lot of time to talk about the weather.  The performances drive the film but not fast enough to have kept my interest in achieving the goal.
The Coen Brothers are indisputably two of the most talented contemporary film directors around and this is abundantly evident in TRUE GRIT.  They take their craft very seriously and have clearly done their homework here.  That said, the aimless nature of the western genre might have been too much for them as it seems to have exacerbated their philosophical tendencies to the point of meandering ramblings.  The film can be gorgeous, thrilling and engaging but it took a little grit of my own to get through the leaner parts.

Thanks for reading.
LUNCH rating is out of 10.

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December 29, 2010
Hey, Joseph, Happy New Year! Glad to see you still solid in posting in our community!
December 30, 2010
Happy New Year to you too!!
December 29, 2010
Some nice points, but I think I liked this a little more, not matter how much of a Coen Brother fan I am.
December 30, 2010
I know people who truly love this film. I can't say I don't see why but it felt like a let down to me.
December 29, 2010
Just browsing the other reviews for TRUE GRIT, it appears I liked it a lot less than all of you did.
December 29, 2010
It's all good, Joseph. Perfectly understandable. I really do appreciate honest opinions rather than the ones that just go with the bandwagon. It is stilll a great review and a 7 out of 10 rating isn't a bad rating. I gave it a 4.5 minus out of 5 (which may translate into 8.2 out of 10 anyway). How was your holidays? I was wondering where you were when this was released. :)
December 30, 2010
Hey hey .. I wanted to get this review written before Christmas but it was just not doable. You're going to see plenty more of me in the next couple of days. I want to try and bang out three more reviews and my official 2010 list. I've narrowed it down to 14!
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 . February 08, 2011
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 . 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 26, 2010
14-year-old Mattie Ross has come to Ft. Smith Arkansas sometime during the "old west" to hire a US Marshall to track and bring to justice the man who shot and killed her father. She hires the man she's been told has true grit, Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn, a one-eyed drunk with a ferocious reputation. They set out for the Indian Territories, accompanied, to their chagrin, by the dandified Texas Ranger LeBoeuf. Along the way, they encounter some strange characters and engage in dangerous and bloody adventures. &nbs …
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 …
About the reviewer
Joseph Belanger ()
Ranked #24
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … more
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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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