Reviews & Previews - True Grit

Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 06:00 PM

True Grit

By: S. Tran

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon
Directed by: Ethan Cohen, Joel Cohen
Running Time: 110
Rated: PG-13

The Cohen brothers remake is pure western fun with plenty of the usual Cohen brothers' touches that makes it fun and engaging. Performances are solid all around and a new star is born with a great performance by Hailee Steinfeld who manages to steal the show from a couple of Oscar winners.

I've never seen the original movie starring John Wayne because I have a deathly allergy to old movies, but I can't imagine that it could have been better than this remake. Steinfeld plays Mattie Ross, an impossibly mature and whip smart 14 year old girl who is determined to bring her father's killer to justice. From what I could find out this is her first big movie and she makes the most of it. I have a hard time imagining any 14 year old in real life with the poise and wit of Mattie Ross but for the purposes of this movie it just works and Steinfeld astonishes without crossing the line into cartoonish.

She enlists the help of Marshall Cogburn (Bridges), an old school lawman who has a ten o'clock shadow and a quick trigger finger. Cogburn is lured by the money offered by Mattie more than any sense of justice. Joining the duo is a Lebouef (Damon) a Texas Ranger who is a by-the-book officer of the law. In contrast to Cogburn's no bull demeanor Lebouef seems more interested in playing the heroic ranger than simply getting the job done. In his own way though he manages to find a way to the same goal.

As they track down the killer the varied personalities of the three characters leads to the inevitable friction and threatens the success of their mission. The characters may be somewhat stock , apart from Mattie Ross, but the performances by the actors nail the roles they are assigned and seem to really enjoy playing cowboy.

As a straight forward western the movie provides enough to keep you entertained. But with the Cohen brothers behind the scenes the film is elevated from a decent western to a great movie. The dialogue is sharp and the direction is precise without any wasted screen time. The brothers also throw in plenty of weird touches and characters, like the gang member who runs around making animal noises which have absolutely nothing to do with the movie, but somehow add just the right amount of weirdness to everything.

I can't say I enjoy everything the Cohen brothers do, but with True Grit they have made their best film since No Country for Old Men. Unlike that film though this movie satisfies you right until the end. This is one of those movies you won't mind watching again and will likely be a favourite on T.V. But while it is in the theatres you should go check it out.


4 out of 5 stars.

S. Tran also writes at, and


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