I Saw A Film Today… True Grit

I have never really been a John Wayne fan. In truth, I have always preferred the rougher Clint Eastwood westerns compared to “The Dukes” films. But there are always exceptions, which is the case with the 1969 film, True Grit. There’s a reason Wayne won his only Academy Award for his role as cranky Rooster Cogburn. He plays the role serious yet at time comical. Now this classic is being remade by two of the most interesting directors today, The Coen Brothers.

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In the Fall of 1877, Frank Ross is shot down and murdered by one of his workers in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The man, Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), runs off to the Indian territory with Ross’s horse and two California gold pieces to hide away. Ross’s smart 14-year-old Mattie (Hailee Steinfeld) comes to Fort Smith to send her father’s body back home and to seek out someone who will help her get revenge. That man comes in the form of Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), an aging U.S. Marshal who has a fondness for drinking.

Rooster eventually sets out with a Texas Ranger who is also looking for Chaney named La Boeuf (Matt Damon). They both agree that Mattie should not come along but finally allow her to after her constant pestering. What follows is a journey through the Indian territory, the three looking for a gang they believe that Chaney joined up with.

The Coen Brothers have made a wide array of films in their time but they seem to be most at home with the typical western story. Their dry sense of humor and minimalistic settings served them greatly in No Country For Old Men and it also does so here, making it one of the best of the year.

Now as compared to the 1969 film sharing the same story, there really is not too much difference between the two except for a couple of elements. As I have not read the novel that both of these films are based upon, I’m guessing that these elements are from those pages. But both have their own defining qualities. I believe that this remake has a better Cogburn, more rough and believable. Yet as great as Bridges is, at time he inaudibly mumble his lines.

The other performances are fantastic as well. Matt Damon’s Texan is great and provides some of the lighter moments in the film. Josh Brolin steals the scenes he is in with the rather short time he is in them. And new comer Hailee Steinfeld is a great find and I look forward to some of her future work, if any.

True Grit is a faithful remake of the 1969 classic yet original enough to separate it into its own film. If you are looking for a good western to watch, look no further than your local cinema.

Verdict: SEE IT!

*Special thanks to my cousin Scott for sharing this cinematic adventure with me.

So what was your opinion of True Grit? Leave your comments and opinions below.

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One Response to “I Saw A Film Today… True Grit”

  1. “True Grit” succeeds because of the interplay among its three main characters. It can stand on its own and need not worry about being lost in the shadow of the original.

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