True Grit (2010)
Reviewed on 2011 August 21
This was another movie that I debated seeing: I saw a few minutes of the original and it just didn’t pull me in, and I normally ditch remakes just on principal. When I heard the Coen brothers directed it, I was tempted. I generally dislike westerns, but this was a Coen brothers movie. I’m pretty much done with remakes, but Joel and Ethan won out, and I got Mr. Shukti and I the DVD. I chose…wisely.
Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) has a mission: to get the filthy coward that shot her pa and robbed him of his life and two California gold pieces. The man got away and nobody seems particularly interested in helping a 14-year-old frontier kid, even one who can negotiate like a seasoned horse trader. She makes a plan to get some scratch to hire a mercenary, but first, she wants the name of the right man for the job. She asks for the name of some of the best marshals or lawmen, and her eyes light up when she gets the name of not necessarily the best one, but the meanest one: Reuben “Rooster” Cogburn (Jeff Bridges). He is a self-described fat drunk, but as promised, he is very mean, and Mattie insists he’s the man for the job.
Rooster soon teams up with another man, a Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf (Matt Damon, or for you Team America fans, Maaaaaaaaaatt Daaaaaaaaaamon!). They balk at dragging a young girl with them to do this thing, but Mattie is not going to be fobbed off like that; she wants a nice bowl of tasty, tasty vengeance. She follows Rooster and LaBoeuf, showing as much “True Grit” as either of these tough men.
Hailee was perfect as the tough, stubborn Mattie Ross, and from what I remember way tougher than the Kim Darby depiction of the character. Mattie was remarkably strong without being unbelievable or irritating, and Jeff Bridges added some depth to his Rooster Cogburn, though I wish he enunciated a little more clearly; there was some great dialogue and having to struggle to understand it with that accent detracted from it. Still, it was a great character, with one scene where he defends an innocent critter showing that the old coot has a soft spot after all. Damon was good as the pompous LaBouef, and even Mr. Shukti commented on the great camera work.
Three chocolate morsels.