Thursday, January 27, 2011

True Grit - Movie Review

lll 1/2

Starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper and Dakin Matthews.
Directed by Joel & Ethan Coen.

I loves me a well-crafted Western as much as the next feller, and this one fits the bill. Can't say it's Best Picture material, but it's fine innertainment nonetheless.

Hailee Steinfeld is yer heroine here, a 14-year-old girl full o pluck and resolve out to find the man who killed her pa. She's a resourceful tyke, and she sets out to find the meanest marshal she can to hire. She sets her sights on the drunken Rooster Cogburn.

Cogburn is played by Jeff Bridges, who drawls so deep, there's plenty of clever dialogue we miss because he's too hard to understand. I really had to strain. When they show this in Australia or England, the locals will want subtitles for Bridges's lines. But when he gets upset, that one-eyed stare can be chilling.

I never saw the 1969 version, seen pieces, so I didn't have that distracting thing most might, of thinking what Bridges is doing different from Wayne, what Matt Damon's doing different from Glen Campbell, and so forth. I dug Bridges, his deep drawl notwithstanding. Damon was also really good as LaBeouf, at times comical in his bravado but still one you root for when he discovers his true integrity. LaBeouf sees Maddie as a brat when they meet, and she sees him as a buffoon, but mutal respect and understanding is earned.

Then there's Hailee Steinfeld as Maddie, a true find in casting. She's nominated for Best Supporting Actress but she's in every scene.

Twere I to have any other beef with the film, it'd be the denouement. That may be the way the book ends but I thought better choices were there.

Hollywood used to love the Western, and since we only get about one a year, I'd like to see more. Maybe with the financial success of this, we will. But I hope this doesn't mean High Noon and The Searchers remakes are in the works. There's plenty of pulp material to mine from Louis L'Amour, Zane Grey and Elmore Leonard.


Tammy said...

I LOVED the dialogue in this movie--very clever, colorful and well crafted.

JTE said...

I've since seen the 1969 version and I was surprised how similar they were. Matt Damon's a definite upgrade over Glen Campbell, and I like that Hailee is a girl, not a 20-year-old Kim Darby. But there is something cool about John Wayne, Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper all being in the same movie.