True Grit (2010) – Review

Following the cold-blooded murder of her father by a hired hand named Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), 14-year old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) seeks revenge and requests assistance from the toughest United States Marshal she can find, Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), a man with true grit and a fearless outlook on life. Things become a little complex when Mattie insists on accompanying the Marshal on the quest for the outlaw, while along the way, the pair are joined by a Texas Ranger that also wants Chaney for his own purposes. A modern-day western that stands up very well in a genre full of classic releases.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Writers: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Charles Portis
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin

Based on the 1968 Charles Portis novel of the same name, True Grit was released to audiences in December of 2010 and received wide acclaim upon its release, receiving ten Academy Award nominations in the process. It’s worth noting that there was a previous film adaptation released in 1969, which featured John Wayne – a film that will be reviewed in the near future. With that being said, the directors of the film, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, stated that this release was to be a more faithful adaptation of the novel than the prior 1969 version.

An aspect of the picture that really shone was the script put forward by the filmmakers and dialogue on display by the cast. Both were extremely engaging, intellectual, and even witty at times. More importantly, however, it was authentic and believable from the first minute until the last. The same could also be said for the costume and set design, both of which added tremendously to the realism of the old-school western feel that the filmmakers successfully conveyed.

In terms of the story itself, True Grit does manage to deliver a thoroughly compelling and engaging tale over the modest one-hundred and ten-minute runtime, despite the lack of mindless action sequences that many films of this nature would inject. Admittedly the action was sparse, but when it did arrive, it was brutal and shocking in nature.

In terms of the diverse cast on show, Jeff Bridges was billed as the lead man, adopting the role of Rooster Cogburn, while Hailee Steinfeld and Matt Damon starred in prominent support roles as Mattie Ross and the Texas Ranger, LaBoeuf, respectively. Elsewhere, Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper also appeared, with the former taking up the role of Tom Chaney and the latter taking up the role of Ned Pepper.

More often than not, whenever a remake is released to audiences around the world, there’s some form of backlash in terms of the sheer quality of the flick. Thankfully, however, that wasn’t to be the case with True Grit, as the film managed to stand up as being one of the more impressive western releases in recent years. Most definitely a film I’d recommend. It’s worth noting that True Grit is currently streaming on Netflix.

“You must pay for everything in this world, one way or another. There is nothing free except the grace of God.”

Mattie Ross – True Grit


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