January 23, 2011

True Grit Scores

True Grit is the first western based film presented to us by the Coen brothers. The Coens combine their original and witty dialogue with incredible performances by top notch actors to create a film thats so engrossing that you're taken on a ride back in time with true outlaws. The plot centers on Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) whose father was shot and killed by a loner named Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), who also made off with the father's 2 gold pieces. Mattie is determined at all costs to find her father's killer, and hires U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to do the job. A Texas Ranger named La Boeuf (Matt Damon) arrives on the scene already hot on Chaney's trail over a murder he committed in Texas. The trio set off together in hopes of finding Tom Chaney before anyone else does. The plot delves in deeper than that of course, and it emerges as a true Western flick that actually works. While it doesn't involved all that heavily on action (minus a few great scenes), it's involved mostly on the characters and the experiences that they must face. With the Coen's classic dialogue (equivalent to Fargo) the slower paced scenes are genuinely enjoyable because the most random of conversations will occur and the outcome is either hilarious or heartwarming. Jeff Bridges is flawless and Oscar worthy portraying a Rooster Cogburn so exceptionally well that he completely overshadows John Wayne's portrayal multiple times over. Matt Damon is unrecognizable at first as a desperate Ranger though his times on the big screen are enjoyable especially the many quarrels with Bridges such as arguments on who is the better shot. Hailee Steinfeld is completely flawless as well. Her portrayal of a headstrong 14 year old determined to track one man down is so spot on that I actually tricked myself into thinking I was watching an adult in the same role. The supporting roles of Josh Brolin and Berry Pepper were great as always, although their screen time was dwindled down to only a small percentage, but both of their roles are great. The many different camera angles the Coens use really outlay a vast and open landscape to the many different types of crimes committed there. The pacing is slick and perfect. The many action scenes are great and house outstanding shootouts and they aren't as heavy on the violence as the earlier Coen brothers films. In between the few key action scenes, there are the funny and enjoyable dialogue moments that keep the momentum in place and this style never falls flat. All in all True Grit really delivers a stellar experience that zooms through quick from beginning to end thanks in part to the great action scenes, and the truly flawless characters and dialogue. If you're in to look for a great Western film, this is the one true and great modern experience.

Los Angeles Times 90
Boxoffice Magazine 90
Village Voice 80

Average: 86

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