Rating: 8.3/10 ()
Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Runtime: 110 min
Release Date: 22 December 2010 (USA) See more »
Taglines: Punishment comes one way or another See more »
Writers: Joel Coen (screenplay), Ethan Coen (screenplay), and 1 more credit »
Following the murder of her father by hired hand Tom Chaney, 14-year-old farm girl Mattie Ross sets out to capture the killer. To aid her, she hires the toughest U.S. marshal she can find, a man with "true grit," Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn. Mattie insists on accompanying Cogburn, whose drinking, sloth, and generally reprobate character do not augment her faith in him. Against his wishes, she joins him in his trek into the Indian Nations in search of Chaney. They are joined by Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, who wants Chaney for his own purposes. The unlikely trio find danger and surprises on the journey, and each has his or her "grit" tested.
Jeff Bridges - Rooster Cogburn
Hailee Steinfeld - Mattie Ross
Matt Damon - LaBoeuf
Josh Brolin - Tom Chaney
Barry Pepper - Lucky Ned Pepper
Dakin Matthews - Col. Stonehill
Jarlath Conroy - Undertaker
Paul Rae - Emmett Quincy
Domhnall Gleeson - Moon (The Kid)
Elizabeth Marvel - 40-Year-Old Mattie
Roy Lee Jones - Yarnell
Ed Corbin - Bear Man
Leon Russom - Sheriff
Bruce Green - Harold Parmalee
Candyce Hinkle - Boarding House Landlady
Sound Mix: SDDS
Filming Locations: Austin, Texas, USA
"HOLD TO GOD'S UNCHANGING HAND" Written by Franklin L. Eiland
Official Site(s): Paramount [United States] |
Jeff Bridges was 2 years younger than John Wayne was when he portrayed the character of Rueben J "Rooster" Cogburn in the original True Grit.
LaBoeuf: I just rode in from Yell County.
Mattie Ross: I wasn't aware we had any rodeo clowns in Yell County.
Buster Coen, Ethan Coen's son, is listed in the end credits as "Mr. Damon's abs double". In reality, he was an on-set assistant to the script supervisor.
The old west lives again , rated: 9/10
True Grit is not a remake, but a re-imagining. Narrated by Mattie Ross, played by Hailee Steinfeld, who makes her feature film debut, we find Mattie picking up the pieces following the death of her father at the hands of Tom Chaney (Brolin). A headstrong girl, Mattie isn't looking for a handout; she's looking for justice. She is directed towards Rooster Cogburn (Bridges), a Federal Marshall whose reputation for shooting his prisoners makes him the right fit for Mattie's cause.
She is discovered soon after by LaBoeuf (Damon) who is also looking for Chaney for a crime committed in Texas. Mattie's plan of riding off with Rooster and LeBoeuf are short lived when LaBoeuf refuses to go out into Indian territory with a "girl." Rooster, though reluctant at first, escorts Mattie into the territory.
Though I am not familiar with the novel with which it is based on, I would say that the Coens have done the story justice. Though you can't replace John Wayne's take on Rooster, Bridges gives a different, more rugged approach to the character. It wasn't "The Dude" or Bad Blake from last year's Crazy Heart. He was Rooster Cogburn the way the Coens wrote it. He doesn't step on Wayne's toes, but rather makes the character his own.
One upgrade from the original film (one of several) was Damon's portrayal of LeBoeuf. In the original, Glen Campbell played a much more cooperative LaBoeuf than Damon. Damon is more independent and clashes with Rooster more often. They're chemistry is much more believable and enjoyable.
Another major upgrade is the music. Though the original has the classic, big, sweeping score by Elmer Bernstein that many westerns of the day were accustomed to, it just didn't fit the story. It made is much lighter than it needed to be. Carter Burwell, whose previous work for the Coens is simply sublime, gives yet another stellar score, creating just the right mood and tempo. Rooster's charge at the end is accompanied by a wonderful piece of music that brings you right in the saddle with Rooster, guns-a-blazing, hollering and rooting for the good guys. Burwell's sense of both the time period and the mood of the film couldn't have been better.
Where would a Coen Brother's film be without some stunning visuals. Roger Deakins, whose work is up there with the best of the day, does a fantastic job capturing the sights of the wild west, in a way that films of the 50s and 60s couldn't do. The way sunlight coats the landscape, snow falling through the trees, and the shadows of a flickering fire are just moments that stand out.
Lastly we come to Joel and Ethan, who might be the finest pair of filmmakers working today. They are gifted in telling a story with images and dialogue. Though not working with an original work, still springs off of the screen. Not to mention the performances they get out of their cast is second to none. Everyone is on board for this picture, and it shows.
True Grit is a better film than the '69 version. The photography, supporting cast, and all around production is better. Still, I have no doubt that Rooster Cogburn will be remembered as John Wayne, I have to hand it to Jeff and the Coens for putting on a spectacular film, both a delight for the eyes and ears.