I can’t say I’m much of a fan of Westerns, but having said that, Rockstar Games certainly changed my perception of gaming with their Western epic, Red Dead Redemption, so maybe Joel and Ethan Coen could do the same with their re-make of the John Wayne classic, True Grit.
The funny thing is that I was looking forward to Matt Damon’s role as LaBoeuf, the boastful Texas Ranger with a grudge, but I certainly wasn’t that enthused with the prospect of having to endure Jeff Bridges’s take on John Wayne’s character, U.S. Marshal Reuben “Rooster” Cogburn. But as it turned out, Rooster was a role that Bridges seemed to nail, where was for a fair amount of the film, I was thinking Damon had been miscast, but finally ended up enjoying his character as well. Of the hardy male roles, Josh Brolin made for a convincing Tom Chaney, who is the hunted murderer that this Western tale hangs on.
Of course, the real stand out is the performance of Hailee Steinfeld playing the role of a head strong 14 year old girl, Mattie Ross who sets out to settle her fathers accounts and raise enough money to employ Rooster and LaBoeuf to help her track down and bring her father’s killer to justice.
Being a Western, True Grit seems to be a tad long in the tooth from time to time, but once it gets going it’s an enjoyable ride, with a surprising amount of humour. The story is naturally told from Mattie Ross’ poit of view and we get the pleasure of witnessing and educated 14 year old run rings around her father’s former business partner. But we also witness the trouble an inexperienced headstrong girl can get herself into.
One of the stand out features of True Grit, and one that shines on the BluRay version is the stunning cinematography. As long and intriguing a story as it is, True Grit’s tale often plays second fiddle to the stunning scenery that our characters traverse in their quest.
All up, True Grit probably won’t enamor people to go out and rent classic westerns, but the Coen’s do prove that the western is still a valid, and entertaining genre.
Reviewed by: Jonathan