True Grit (2010)

The Dude playing a sheriff. This is heaven.

Fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross’ (Hailee Steinfeld) father has been shot in cold blood by the coward Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), and she is determined to bring him to justice. Enlisting the help of a trigger-happy, drunken US Marshal, Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), she sets out with him – over his objections – to hunt down Chaney. Her father’s blood demands that she pursue the criminal into Indian territory and find him before a Texas Ranger named LeBoeuf (Matt Damon) catches him and brings him back to Texas for the murder of another man.

The western genre has been kind of dead as of lately. I mean there have been your occasional westerns like Appaloosa, or 3:10 To Yuma awhile back for that matter, but never has there been one in the last couple of years that has brought it back to the “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” stages it used to be. But I think it just needed somebody who could handle it right, and those were The Coens.

The Coen Brothers direction is solid here. They use a lot of time to focus on the story, and keep the pace going at a minimal pace. The script that they wrote is also very good for this movie, as it keeps humor, in light of the bad and serious tone this film tries to maintain throughout the whole film. I was glad to see The Coens do something completley different, and once again, keep me watching.

However, my problem with this film is that it just kind of disappointed me. I like how they focuses on the story a lot, but the pace at times, was just way too slow. It would get to a point, and I thought it would go somewhere, and then it just ended up going right back to the dead pace. I will not lie this film is very enjoyable, but the problem was that there are certain times, where the film feels like it doesn’t have much really going on, so they just throw in a little gun-fight. The gun-fights were good in this film, but they didn’t come all the time to keep me entertained, because there still were some dry parts.

Jeff Bridges as usual, is the effin’ man in this film, playing Rooster Cogburn. He’s very good at playing the rough, tough, and stubborn man, who also has a good heart, and you have a feeling that in the end he will do the right thing. Sometimes it was hard for me to understand just what on the earth he was saying, but he is still always a joy to watch. Matt Damon is also very good here playing LaBeouf, giving us that dry, sophisticated timing we haven’t seen from him in so long. It all reminds us as to why he really is one of the best stars out there, and should be given each and every role he is offered. New-comer Hailee Steinfeld is perfect in this role, as Mattie’s Ross, as she is the heart of the movie, and we have to kind of rally around her for this film to work, and we do. She also shows that she can hang with stars such as Bridges, and Damon, and I cannot wait to see what she has planned next. Josh Brolin is also strangely good as Tom Chaney, and Barry Pepper also shows up, doing what he always does best. He gets under-casted, but doesn’t let you forget that he was in this film after all.

The main gripe I had with this film was the fact that I was kind of expecting something new, and improved to the Western genre, since this was done by The Coens and all. But instead, I didn’t get that. It all felt too by-the-book, and certain things happened, that you knew were going to happen, and it’s kind of a disappointment, cause this is The Coens, who are always known for keeping you on the edge of your seat, and surprising the hell out of you. But instead they just keep us entertained, which isn’t so bad, I just was expecting something so much more.

Consensus: True Grit is entertaining, with some good action, and great performances from the cast, but almost a big disappointment as I was expecting something more, and different from The Coens, and instead got your average, generic western, with more wit, and less surprises.



  1. I’m watching the original on AMC as I write, and it’s certainly a tall challenge to remake! I hope to see the new version real soon. It sounds like a winner!

  2. Believe it or not, this film is technically packed with action. By action I certainly don’t mean violence or running or screaming “No!”, as modern audiences have interpreted it. This, like the novel, is a character piece, and action means development. There’s always something fascinating going on from that perspective. If you expected constant violence, you would be disappointed, but that’s hardly the story’s fault. There isn’t a dull moment in this screenplay. From a storyteller’s perspective, the film is — I will say it — perfect. I would prefer to say “complete”, leaning on the Aristotelian school of drama, but in effect it means the same. Is the film old fashioned? Of course. Is it generic? Hell, no. A “generic” western is hodge-podge and soulless. This film is alive.

  3. i do agree with the statement that this is not like a typical coen brother film, in the sense that it leaves you hanging. previous films like lebowski and burn after reading as well as fargo had that shock value/edge of your seat that made them so damned good, other wise this did feel like it was hey it’s awards season lets make a movie

  4. A great review Sir!
    My dad got me into the original when I was a lot younger and I loved it, so I’m a little worried about this remake.

    But Coens Bros. are wonderful filmmakers!

  5. I wasn’t expecting anything mindblowing, and I got what I expected. This is going to make one heck of a movie to rewatch on TNT.

    While it might not be everything you’ve ever dreamed of now, I bet your appreciation will grow with video and TV.

  6. Yeah I agree with you in that I too was disappointed, but for different reasons.

    I thought the Coens could’ve done so much more with the material, been more creative. Also I wasn’t wowed by Bridges performance so much. Damon was good though.

    Check out my newly published review of it, it’s just come out in the uk.

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