Usually, Coen Brothers movies have a certain quality about them that makes them quite unique. You can usually guess it’s them just by watching the opening scene of a movie. A Serious Man marks a slight deviation from that path. And the movie we’re going to be talking about today is a step in that same direction. True Grit is an entertaining Western movie following a little girl and an old drunk looking for revenge. It’s actually based on a novel of the same name. The first adaptation was the highly popular True Grit from 1969 starring John Wayne.
It would appear that the hardcore Western fans appreciate that version more than this one. However, I would like to add that True Grit 2010 edition is a better movie in the sense that it offers an updated version of the story. This pertains to the cinematography, direction, and style of storytelling, all of which I think are quite outdated in the 1969 edition of the movie. When it comes to the cast, Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld were perfect for their roles. I don’t know how or why Bridges plays drunks so well, it’s like a superpower.
I guess the man is just a great actor overall. Apart from these two, we also have Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, and others. True Grit, 2010 edition, has that classic Western sense of adventure and immersion into this world. Perhaps that sense of immersion is the movie’s biggest quality. Mostly because it generates a lot of other things, like the atmosphere, a sense of escapism and freedom. Just you, your partner, a small fire to keep you warm, and an open sky with all the stars the eye can see. They didn’t have to worry about light pollution back then. The costumes are also very authentic with some of them, like Rooster’s onesie, perhaps too authentic.
Welcome to the Wild West folks, an inhospitable place where life is cheap and easy to lose. 14-year-old Mattie Ross sadly had to learn this early on as her father was just killed by the bandits. The local sheriff says to her that the bandits have run away into Indian territory and that he can’t help her. However, Mattie is a feisty girl who will stop at nothing to bring them to justice. So, she hires a US Marshal Rooster Cogburn, a tough son of a bitch to help her find them. And so the quest for justice begins.
True Grit still has that juicy Coen Brothers vibe, don’t worry. It may be a bit subtler than in their other movies but it’s still there. The only thing that was missing were those wide shots from No Country for Old Men. I also have to say that this is another one of those father/daughter movies. I mean, I know their characters are not related but we have a young girl and an older man acting as her protector. I’m guessing this is going to do wonders for the gen pop and their experience with this movie. I’m just saying that as a cynic without any children, I was still able to immensely enjoy this movie.
And I don’t know why people are saying that True Grit, 2010 edition, is a feminist movie. It’s most certainly is not, and the first clue is right there, in the title. This young woman had to go through a lot of shit to get her man, something most of “alpha males” calling this movie feminist would have trouble achieving as grown man. On top of that, in the original novel, Mattie Ross narrates everything that’s happening. So, there’s that.
Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Charles Portis
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper, Paul Rae
Fun Facts: 13-year old Hailee Steinfeld beat 15.000 girls who all auditioned for the role of Mattie. This was her first movie.