So, ‘tis the season of Christmas block busters, and while there are several movies being released this weekend… True Grit, by the Cohen Brothers is the one that really has my eye. (No Rooster Cogburn pun intended).
The film is of course a remake of the 1969 classic starring John Wayne, and while it would be hard pressed to compare the two films justly, I would go so far as to say that if John Wayne were here in his prime, and this film were made in this modern day… it would be very similar.
Jeff Bridges plays the legendary US Marshal Ruben “Rooster” Cogburn, in his quest to make money by avenging the death of a young girl’s father…. All the while there is an on and off working relationship with a Texas Ranger named La Boeuf (Matt Damon), and the constant brain child conversations from young Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld)… and the role of the outlaws being filled by Josh Brolin as Cheney, and a surprise showing by Barry Pepper as “Lucky” Ned Pepper.
The film really only suffers from the plight of being so fast moving, that it feels like the story is rushed, but given the shorter running time (only 110 minutes) this is to be expected.
True Grit stands on it’s own as a trip to the land of the wild west bad ass, and much like Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven, True Grit kind of suffers from the quirk of being almost too dark to really get into.
The camera work was amazing, and there are situations in this film that are very much like the previous works of the Cohen’s, such as The Big Lebowski (1998), O Brother Where Art Thou (2000), and to a degree No Country for Old Men (2007)… there is a feel of dark comedy involved with the film. It would be simple to say that most everything that the Cohen Brothers touch does turn to gold… but in a way, this film has a dark feel to it that is more along the lines of The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001).
All in all, True Grit is an excellent film, and one hell of a western… This one is worth the ticket.