A stubborn teenager enlists the help of a tough U.S. Marshal to track down her father's murderer.A stubborn teenager enlists the help of a tough U.S. Marshal to track down her father's murderer.A stubborn teenager enlists the help of a tough U.S. Marshal to track down her father's murderer.
This new version of the Charles Portis novel was scripted and directed by the great filmmaking brothers Joel and Ethan Coen, who treat the material respectfully, even reverently. The dialogue is antiquated, yet quite literate, and it truly comes to life when spoken by this well-chosen cast. The story is straightforward and without filler, the pacing very efficient. Serious at times (and funny at other times), the film never veers too far into melodrama. It hits the ground running, with an older Mattie (Elizabeth Marvel) narrating and giving us the back story of Mr. Ross' killing. Two frequent Coen brothers collaborators work some real magic: cinematographer Roger Deakins, whose widescreen compositions are wonderful, and composer Carter Burwell, whose music is breathtaking.
Bridges completely disappears inside the role of the surly, tough, hard drinking marshal, while Damon gives one of his better performances. Brolin and Pepper don't show up until around the 80 minute mark, but do extremely effective work. As soon as you meet Chaney, you know you loathe him; he's that much of a heel. The strong supporting cast includes Dakin Matthews, Paul Rae, Domhnall Gleeson, and Leon Russom; it's also great to see Jarlath Conroy from George Romeros' "Day of the Dead" as the undertaker. But young Steinfeld leaves the greatest impression, giving us a heroine who is capable, determined, and very mature for her age, a girl who can hold her own dealing with a character like Stonehill (Matthews).
"True Grit" 2010 is sometimes violent (and strikingly so), but is basically just a good, solid example of impassioned storytelling that maintains viewer interest for the better part of two hours.
Eight out of 10.
- Nov 29, 2017