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.

Review – The Bourne Legacy

The Bourne Legacy

Tony Gilroy

2012

A Soldier taken from the same military experiment as Jason Bourne finds himself on the run and in search of the medication he needs to keep him ship shape.

Jason Bourne is dead……well he might as well be. If you’re looking for Bourne in this film you’d be better of just reading the poster. What we have in the fourth instalment is Aaron Cross, played by Jeremy Renner, gristly and actually more believable as a CIA super soldier. What we actually see in this film is more of the same.  The director seems to follow the frenetic style set by Paul Greengrass in the previous two films but in narrative terms, the plot is muddled and confusing and the actors aren’t given enough time on screen to develop their characters which leaves you not particularly caring what happens to them. The film tries to ask some pretty important questions about the world we live in today, where it’s been and where it’s going. It’s doesn’t really succeed but I give it a B- for effort.