Review – True Grit (2011)

True Grit

Joel and Ethan Coen

2011

“The world itself is vexing enough”

A maddening, headstrong young girl embarks on a journey to see her father’s killer brought to justice. With this in mind she enlists the help of Rooster Cogburn, an old, fat, intrepid, alcoholic marshal who knows the Indian Territory they will travel and isn’t squeamish when it comes to killing a man or two.

Many people were worried and some downright upset when they heard a remake of True Grit was being made. As if this version would erase the former one from history. Well it didn’t. It’s still around and I assume well stocked at HMV. All this film did was take the story and improve the plot, photograph it better, make it funnier and more solemn and stay more faithful to the book (if that sort of thing interests you). Jeff Bridges is spot on as Rooster. He is both repulsively charming and charmingly repulsive. Matt Damon gives the best performance of his career as La Boef, a Texas Ranger full of equal parts pride and shit. Hailee Steinfeld holds her own against Kim Darby from the original (whom after Justin Bieber got famous I can’t take seriously) as Maddie, the real heart and the ‘true’ grit of the film.

I don’t want to suggest that I don’t like the original True Grit. It’s a good film and worth seeing. But the Coen’s simply made a better film from the same material.

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3 thoughts on “Review – True Grit (2011)

  1. Although I enjoyed this version of True Grit very much, I preferred the original. I fear that Hathaway’s film suffers from the critics dislike to his ‘body of work’. But his handling of the actors here was masterful and his changes to the published work produced the iconic ‘cowboy’ film of it’s day. John Wayne was on a bit of a roll at the time with some of his best westerns including ‘Chisum’ (Chisum, John Chisum) and ‘the cowboys’ but True Grit must be regarded as one of the Duke’s best.
    This, in no way, detracts from the Coen Brothers film. I found it beautifully made with excellent performances from all.

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