Tuesday, January 11, 2011

True Grit

This is not John Wayne’s Rooster. True Grit is a film that is completely Coen. This is the reason that films get made. It is a pristine example of all that is wonderful and inspiring with the art and craft of film.

Like I said, this is not a John Wayne movie; though both of the True Grit films are based off the same source material the Coen’s version is like a rouge wave washing away the softer edges and homey feel of the classic. This film is rough, gritty, dirty and tough – much like what I imagine the reality of that day was. Mattie Ross is determined to get justice for the death of her father, and Rooster is the tool that she uses. It’s a wild world, and definitely not a safe one.

Unlike the original, in this film Mattie Ross is played at her true age – 14. Taking the mantle this time is newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, and I have to say the power of this performance reminds me very much of Anna Paquin’s burst into the acting scene with The Piano. For such a young talent, the maturity of her skill is evident and startling. Steinfeld holds her own against Damon, Brolin & Bridges, usually stealing the scene and is undoubtedly the most memorable character in the film.

If I had a vote in the Oscar nominations I’d throw my hat in for Jeff Bridges again. I know he won last year for a fantastic performance in Crazy Heart but I have to say that his turn as Rooster Cogburn is one of my favorite performances of the year. This Cogburn is rough, anti-social and has a wicked sense of humor. Bridges & the Coen’s bring out the changes in Cogburn very subtly as he goes from grumpy old marshall who cares about no one, to the man willing to risk anything to help Mattie.

There’s really nothing I didn’t like about this movie. With every Coen film that comes out I can see their talent growing – something that shouldn’t be possible for two people that are already some of the finest artists working today. True Grit is a masterpiece.

Directors: The Brothers Coen

Mattie Ross: You must pay for everything in this world, one way and another. There is nothing free except the grace of God.

No comments: