Few westerns are enjoyable in my opinion, and even fewer have not only a good amount of violence, but also a good story with deep characters and nice visuals (hard to find in a western). True Grit stands out among westerns.
True Grit is a Paramount Pictures film directed by Joel and Ethan Coen (commonly referred to as the Coen Brothers) that stars Jeff Bridges from The Big Lebowski, Matt Damon who starred in Good Will Hunting, and Josh Brolin from No Country for Old Men. The movie is rated R and lasts 110 minutes.
I’ve always loved the Coen Brothers, but there are times when they lose even me. They had me with No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski, and A Serious Man, but then lost a lot of us with Burn After Reading.
The Coen Brothers’ style is very particular, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that True Grit is an enthralling film, a film that captures a much wider audience than The Big Lebowski, for example.
True Grit, based on the 1968 novel by Charles Portis, is the story of a 14-year-old girl whose father is killed. She plans to avenge his death by killing his murderer. Mattie Ross is a strong willed, clever girl, played by first time movie actress Hailee Steinfeld, who enlists the help of a drunkard Marshall, excellently played by Bridges. The two set off into Indian Territory, where a slew of adventures ensue.
Hailee Steinfeld does a magnificent job playing Mattie Ross. Steinfeld portrays the character just as in the book, a strong, clever young girl with a great sense of perseverance. With this great big budget movie debut for the young 14-year-old actress she is sure to win an Oscar.
Though the mumbling and ranting of Bridges’ character Rooster Cogburn is sometimes hard to understand, Bridges does a spectacular job of getting the essence of his character across. Bridges seems to work best in ‘bum’ roles, and doesn’t have much to prove. He works well as a gun toting, ranting crazy man who, surprisingly, has a heart.
True Grit is definitely one of the Coen Brother’s best films so far, up among Fargo and No Country for Old Men. The setting, character wardrobe and violence make this a great western.