Jeff Bridges has been racking up the performances lately. He finished up 2010 with “True Grit”. This film has deff jumped to the top of my list for favorite film of 2010. Since new Westerns are few and far between these days I was intrigued when I heard about this film. Shortly thereafter I found out it was a Coen brothers project… this pretty much meant I was sold way before I forked over that eight bucks for my ticket. The Coen brothers are known for a certain type of film and with this project they completly abolish any preconceptions you could have about one of their movies. There signature style are near void – no over the top dialogue, no weird camera work, no confusion, just a really great Western… sorta. One could argue that this is more of a drama in a western setting but that is beside the point.
Well my instincts were dead on with this one. Remarkable characters coupled with brilliant acting and a flawless storyline make for a perfect movie experience. Add to all that breathtaking cinematography and a great soundtrack and there may not be a word to describe how much I enjoyed this film. Perfect, is not a word I throw around frequently. So when I say I had a hard time finding a way to criticize this movie, I mean it! They timed their release of the film very strategically as well. With Oscar season in full swing and having everything going for it, this film will be in forefront of everyone’s mind. I predict we will be hearing a lot more about this film on the award circuit.
The show stopper of this masterpiece was by far the character Mattie Ross, played by newbie Hailee Steinfield. Mattie is a 14 year old girl who has come from the big city to avenge her father’s murder. She is deff a little pistol. She is years beyond her elders and proves it over and over again. Everyone who challenges her fails miserably. She is full of witty humor and subtle modesty. She knows what she wants and she gets it. The audience is continually surprised by her development throughout the film. Hers was truly the performance of a lifetime!
When Mattie learns that the murderer and double crosser, Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), has skipped town she goes in search of a bounty hunter. Mattie comes across Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), an old U.S. Marshall who’s a bit long in the tooth and rough around the edges. Cogburn is brought on by Mattie to track Chaney into Indian territory. Of course young Mattie insists on tagging along. At the beginning of their journey they come acroos the pompous character of Lebeouf (Matt Damon). Lebeouf is a Texas Ranger who has been tracking Chaney for months for the crime of shooting a senator back in Texas. Once conversations begin the three discover they all have different thoughts on how to deal with Chaney once in custody. This sets up the film for the majority of the conflict. While True Grit is certainly a tragic story of revenge watching the continual character development and interaction is by far the most rewarding part of the movie.
Damon delivers one of his best performances yet… his conversation is portrayed brilliantly and would be how I imagine a Texas Ranger would talk. Taking any opportunity to tell you how amazing and wonderful Texas is and ending each conversation with “adios” (pronounced like aaddeeooss). Bridges blows his tron performance out of the water with True Grit! I do think that they oversold Josh Brolin as a main character in the film… he is little more than a cameo and spend nearly zero time on camera. But while on screen his performance as a scared criminal is also amazing.
Hardcore Western fans will likely be dissappointed with the lack of gunfights and non stop action in the movie. The film is centered more around the heartwrenching journey towards revenge rather than actually getting the revenge. I think there were a few missed opportunities were they could have played on the audiences emotions and had a bigger effect but the movie loses no quality because of this. I was extremely impressed with the Coen brother’s self control – they stood back and let the story and actors speak for themselves. The movie is leaps and bounds better because of this. If you do only one extracuricular activity this week… go see this movie. You will not regret it.
Because I could not find one absolute negative thing to say about this movie True Grit get 5 out of 5 stars!
Until next time,my fellow media addicts, remember: Admitting that you have a problem is the first step to indulging!
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