Devil’s DVD Advocacy: True Grit
Constantly reinventing themselves, the Coen Brothers throw their ten gallon hats in the ring with their adaptation of the 1968 Charles Portis novel, True Grit. The story centers in on young Mattie Ross, played by newcomer Haillee Steinfeld whose main goal is avenging her father’s murder by capturing the man responsible. Knowing her limitations she seeks out the help of U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn, played by the dude himself, Jeff Bridges. Backing up Cogburn on the treacherous manhunt is Matt Damon’s Texas Ranger, who simply goes by LaBoeuf. The Coens, who both adapted and directed the film, manage to create a western that holds true to the genre, while also finding appeal within the mass market.
With comical touches that only they could convey on screen, the brothers create a healthy balance between old west action and the outright absurd. A great deal of time is spent on developing each of the main characters, but the Coens have mastered progressing the story while still fleshing out their characters fully. Bridges masterfully portrays the drunkard Marshall with a sharpshooter’s eye, playing even the most humorous scenes straight as an injun’s arrow. Damon holds his own as the presumptuous and brash Texas Ranger, but the real performance to watch is that of 14 year old Haillee Steinfeld. This tiny teenie with the tongue of silver bursts onto the screen with more verve and enthusiam than all of young Hollywood combined. While I haven’t seen every film made this year, I would have to assume the Best Supporting Actress award at the Oscars is her’s for the taking. Hollywood needs to get her and Alice in Wonderland‘s Mia Wasikowska in a film together, as long as it isn’t Bride Wars 2: Bride Harder.
Not a moment is wasted in this film. Everything builds upon everything else and each scene is as significant as the last. At times the Coens can drag a story out further than necessary, but here, if anything, the film could have been longer. Certain moments seemed glossed over or excluded in favor of getting to the main showdown quicker. I’m hoping for an extended edition on DVD and Blu-Ray, which is something I don’t typically look for since I like my movies on the shorter side.
For me there was no doubt with the Coens at the helm. Their comic stylings and sense of drama and action have always made for great filmic experiences. While they tend to run hot and cold with others, I’ve learned to give them the benefit of the doubt and look at each film as a tiny microcosm containing itty bitty worlds created by the Coens. That way it’s hard to quibble over what was based in reality and what wasn’t.
True Grit was a tremendous movie going experience. I loved every moment, which left me craving more. Easily one of my favorites of 2010.
Posted on June 6, 2011, in Devil's DVD Advocacy and tagged Barry Pepper, DVD, Ethan Coen, Haillee Steinfeld, jeff bridges, Joel Coen, Josh Brolin, Matt Damon, True Grit. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.