This reviewer went to see the new True Grit with some trepidation, but shouldn’t have worried because this western story was in good hands with the Coen brothers.
They’ve delivered a mighty fine, solid western, the only disappointment being a scarcity of offbeat Coen brothers touches.
the 1969 True Grit earned John Wayne his only Best Actor Oscar (more than one wag said he got it for satirizing John Wayne) but this version is less Hollywood and darker.
It is more story and character driven.
It is also beautifully put together; the camerawork is especially good.
Hailee Steinfeld shines as the wise beyond her years 14-year-old who hires Jeff Bridges (playing the one-eyed, crotchety, boozing Marshall Rooster Cogburn) to track down and bring her father’s murderer to justice.
Matt Damon has a subdued supporting role as the Texas ranger also chasing the murderer, played by Josh Brolin.
There’s more grit in this version of the story and Bridges wisely underplays the role of Cogburn, so you don’t find yourself yearning for the Duke to appear.
As he showed in Crazy Heart last year, Bridges is one of the best actors on the screen today and handles the role very well.
The Coen brothers have said they were not remaking the 1969 film (and most remakes are worse than the original), but making a new version of the book.
However it’s still essentially the same story; it would be interesting to watch them back to back.
Rating: five deer out of five