One of the most crowd-pleasing films I think the Coens have ever made, accessible, simple, mythic and finally beautiful (by Loving_Silence)
The Coen brothers are known for being one of the best filmmakers of our time. They both compliment each other perfectly. When I heard they were remaking the 1969, John Wayne classic True Grit, I was extremely excited and had incredibly high expectations of the film. Being a major fan of Western movies, I was really interested how it would turn out. I wanted the movie to be more faithful to it's original source material, Charles Portis novel, than the 1969 film had been. I was also hopeful that Jeff Bridges would fill the huge shoes of the classic, legendary John Wayne. I was hoping that <more>
they would blend the humor of the original 1969 film with some of the suspense or thrills from earlier Coen brothers films like No Country For Old Men or Fargo. But not become way too violent that it causes to stay completely unrecognizable to Charles Portis classic novel. After seeing the Coen brothers new film, I have to say. My extremely high expectations were surpassed. The movie actually surprised all the hype I had, what an incredible film. The atmosphere, clothing, and the buildings reminded me of the old classic Hollywood westerns they used to make. I had a feeling of nostalgia watching the movie through the end. I felt transported to another time period of the old western. Hailee Steinfeld was amazing in the movie, I truly believe that this is her breakout performance. Matt Damon and Josh Brolin were as usual amazing. But the true star of the film has to be Jeff Bridges, in all respects I don't mean to offend John Wayne or anything , I think Jeff Bridges did a better job than John Wayne in portraying Rooster Cogburn. His performance showed much more experience, strength and power, the performance was pretty much unforgettable. Jeff Bridges handily reinvents the iconic role of Rooster Cogburn in the Coen brothers' back-to-the-book-remake. I congratulate the Coen for bringing back the western genre, that Hollywood has ignored so much the last decade or so. I can't stress enough how much I recommend this movie to people.
The Coens Show Some True Class (by childsplayillustration)
Those of you who wonder why someone would remake a good film, need to withhold judgment until seeing this film. It was one of the most authentic westerns I've ever had the privilege of viewing, and I am a die-hard western aficionado, and true-west historian. The costumes, the buildings, the interiors, and the dialogue were so meticulously crafted that I felt entirely immersed in a world long since forgotten, and often misunderstood. The acting was unbelievable as you'd expect from such established, accomplished thespians, but Hailee Steinfeld was a revelation, holding her own, if not <more>
carrying the entire film on her relatively small shoulders. The Brothers Coen have justified their choice to adapt Charles Portis' novel, not remake the John Wayne classic. The impact, and visceral reality of life in such places and times, coupled with the abrupt, brutal violence is something you didn't fully grasp in the grandstanding, heroics of the 1969 version. I applaud the Coens for exercising restraint and understatement to allow the scenes and the situations to breathe and take there natural course. Overall, it was an amazing cinematic experience that truly transports the viewer to a very real and fully realized time and space that crackles with fire and true grit.
I am a fierce John Wayne fan. He was really great as Rooster in True Grit. The new version is not the same movie as John Wayne's. Don't compare the two. The story line's are similar, but that's it. This new version is a whole new story than the one written for John Wayne. This is a great movie, with truly great acting for all involved.The 1969 movie was driven fully by Rooster Cogburn. This 2010 version is truly driven by Mattie Ross. The performances by Stienfeld, Bridges, and Damon shine. I would have liked to have seen Stienfeld and Damon against John Wayne. Bridges was <more>
terrific as Cogburn. The story was far better than I imagined it could have been.I can't believe I said all this. I am one who absolutely hates re-makes. Like I said this is not the same movie.
Ethan and Joel Coen, more famously known as the Coen Brothers, team up with Jeff Bridges twelve years after he starred as The Dude in the Coens' "The Big Lebowski" and with Josh Brolin three years after he starred as Llewelyn Moss in the Coens' Academy Award winning "No Country for Old Men", to create their newest classic, "True Grit". The film is both a remake of the classic 1969 western starring John Wayne in his Oscar winning role and is based off of the 1968 book with the same name by Charles Portis. The film is all about the dialogue within the <more>
screenplay and furthermore the attention to detail in each perfectly crafted word by the Coen brothers. The film begins with a shot of Mattie Ross's Hailee Steinfeld's debut movie role dead father on the ground after being shot in cold blood by a man named Ton Chaney Josh Brolin . Mattie Ross will stop at nothing to avenge her father's death and to fulfill the film's tagline "Retribution". She tracks down the meanest and most ruthless U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn Jeff Bridges to hunt down Chaney. She also receives help from Texas Ranger LaBoeuf Matt Damon along the way as they pursue Chaney and Lucky Ned Pepper's Barry Pepper gang. "True Girt" is a modern western that acts as a throwback to the classic 1940s, 1950s western film.Nominated for 11 Critic's Choice Awards, "True Grit" is a great movie all over the board. However, there are two aspects of the film that stand out the most: 1 The Acting and 2 The Coen Brothers. Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld have been receiving their fair share of award nominations for their performances, while Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper have been recognized for their solid performances as well. Jeff Bridges has the potential to get back to back Best Actor Oscar nominations and even win back to back Oscars and Hailee Steinfeld could clean up all of the Best Young Actress Awards along with capturing either a Best Actress of Best Supporting Actress nomination at the Oscars. However, the most surprising performance in the film is Matt Damon's. I for one was very excited to see him casted as LaBoeuf, but was also very skeptical to see him in a western playing a Texas Ranger. Needless to say Matt Damon was great! The cast is able to flourish because they had a lot to work with provided by the Coen Brothers. The screenplay that they wrote is one of the best of the year and is almost as sophisticated as "The Social Network" going hand in hand with their unique directing style.There really isn't much wrong with the film. The film starts out slow, but this is on purpose as it builds up slowly overtime until you are placed into the fast paced thrilling action sequences. The film gets better and better as you keep watching, however, the ending is actually kind of a letdown after the really strong beginning and middle. The film ends very abruptly, but I guess the Coen Brothers are known for making films with weird endings. Exhibit A "No Country for Old Men"."True Grit" is one of the best films of the year and is one of the most family friendly films that the Coen Brothers have ever made. However, even with a PG-13 rating it is on the cusp of being rated R, therefore, Coen Brothers fans will not be disappointed because the movie as a whole is better than the original. Go see it now and answer the real question is who played a better Rooster Cogburn The Duke or The Dude?
"True Grit" comes close to greatness (by jon.h.ochiai)
"True Grit" is the Coen Brothers' most heroic, straight forward tale, and for me their most satisfying. I read that Directors and Writers Joel and Ethan Coen were passionate fans of the novel by Charles Portis. Their "True Grit" is more a reverent homage of the novel, than a remake of "True Grit" starring John Wayne, who won an Oscar for his role as U. S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn. Jeff Bridges powerfully assumes the role of Rooster. Still retained is the magnificent heroic arc as Rooster screams, "I aim to kill you!" as he rides his horse, guns <more>
blazing in both hands taking on 4 outlaw killers. Where the original "True Grit" took liberties with the book which I was not aware of previously , the Coens' remain true to the cannon, including the first person narrative of Mattie Ross—this time with Hailee Steinfeld reprising Kim Darby's role. Newcomer 14 year-old Steinfeld is amazing. Matt Damon solidly plays Texas Ranger LaBoeuf—the Glenn Campbell role. Damon is such a versatile actor.In the original "True Grit" John Wayne won his Academy Award for playing his larger than life self as Rooster Cogburn with ease and grace. Contrastingly, Jeff Bridges authentically inhabits Cogburn as the drunken broken down man coming to terms with his own mortality, who still possesses the vestiges of grit. Bridges is inspired as the reluctant powerful protector. Young Hailee Steinfeld is a revelation. Steinfeld understatedly captures Mattie, who is also 14 years-old. She is no nonsense precocious and razor sharp. One can discern her disarming intelligence in her eyes. She displays this in a whimsical scene where she diffuses an argument between Bridges and Damon. She commands the Coens' dialogue with such élan.Mattie seeks vengeance for the murder of her father by Tom Chaney strong Josh Brolin . Chaney is in asylum with outlaw Ned Pepper grungy evil Barry Pepper and his crew in the Indian Nations, so only U.S. Marshalls have jurisdiction to apprehend fugitives there. Therefore, Mattie hires Marshall Cogburn, because he has "true grit". Mattie aims to see Chaney hanged in her home state or brought back dead. Steinfeld is brilliant as the teen unknowingly forfeiting her innocence for revenge with her eyes wide open. She naturally balances the stridence of youth, and the painful vulnerability of youthful ignorance. As often as she has Bridges and Damon on their intellectual heels, she is beholding to them for her very life. And Steinfeld lets us know that as well.The Coens' envision "True Grit" as stark and barren existential treatise. Our heroes weather the harsh winter storms and lifeless wastelands as they track down their wanted man. The cinematography of Roger Deakins is beautiful and mesmerizing. Paradoxically, "True Grit" is rock solid with stellar performances, but not awesome. Hailee will probably win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress strange in that she occurs as the lead . Their "True Grit" asymptotically approaches the masterpiece of Eastwood's "Unforgiven", but never touches.I think I have decoded the Coens' operating practice—at least for me. As opposed to T.S. Eliot, the world does not end with a bang; it just ends. The end may be the undoing of the Coens' "True Grit". There is certain hollowness. I loved the 1969 "True Grit" including the heroic hokum. In the amazing epilogue Kim Darby's Mattie has a touching conversation with Wayne's Cogburn at her father's snow covered grave. Every time I see that I am in tears. The Coens' "True Grit" has a lyrical eloquence and resonance. However, it fails to touch your soul."True Grit" is masterfully sculpted, uncompromising storytelling, and amazingly entertaining. Jeff Bridge is powerful. Hailee Steinfeld is awesome. That being said, "True Grit" comes up a little short in touching and inspiring. Ultimately, what is disappointing is that "True Grit" fails to touch your heart. Understandably, touching the heart is relative and local. And it is still the most noble intention of all.
A Western in the hands of The Coens' (by eyetwitch0)
As the title almost assumes, this film was very good. The Coen brother's have their up's and down's in the eye of the public, but this one is definitely an up. although I do not think as poorly of 'A Serious Man' or 'Burn After Reading' as most people... Regardless, this was a great movie with a great cast. The Dude does an incredible job living up to The Duke's high standards and delivers a great performance that doesn't just try to impersonate John Wayne's previous portrayal. Matt Damon also delivers a great performance as LaBeouf. And as well, <more>
although the screen time was short, Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper did a fantastic job in their villainous roles.It also helps that the script was SO very good. The Coen's deliver the best script of the year, so far as I've seen. It felt very very authentic to the time period and still had that good Coen wit/humor that most people love. Obviously the cinematography was gorgeous. It had all the standard Western shots, of open ranges and towns of the west. I can't wait to watch it again to look out for more of the cool shots.Everything about this movie was spot-on. It left me feeling quite refreshed, a fulfilled feeling that you don't often get at the end of a great movie. The only thing that keeps me from giving it a 10, is the lack of a 'wow factor', a truly incredible performance or truly amazing shots or incredible plot. Beyond that, a perfect piece of film. Definitely worth seeing, I certainly hope people show up in theaters to watch it.
As is to be expected, the film has all the classic Coen flourishes, first and foremost its use of language. The Coens have always been impeccably tuned in to language and accents, from the most creative use of swear words in The Big Lebowski and Burn After Reading to the colorful, stylized prose of The Hudsucker Proxy and The Man Who Wasn't There to the very distinct accents in Raising Arizona, Fargo, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and No Country for Old Men. In classic Coen fashion, the use of language is very much emphasized in True Grit. The characters have a very distinct use of words, <more>
lifted right out of the novel and, as it feels at least, right out of the time period the film takes place in. Unlike something like Deadwood which features a very modernized and stylized version of 18th century speak, the dialogue in True Grit sounds completely authentic and, along with the impeccable and accurate-feeling costume and set design, really adds to the realism of the world True Grit creates. Accents are also very important – the harsh Southern drawl that the Coens have always been attracted to is very prominent and plays a very large role in the film.As has become expected of the brothers, especially in recent years, the film looks incredibly beautiful, mainly thanks to regular DP Roger Deakins' stunning cinematography. All of his trademarks are in place: harsh but very naturalistic lighting, washed-out colors, especially in the outdoor scenes, smooth camera movements, and just a generally beautiful palette he uses to paint the world of the film with. Also very prominent in the film is the beautiful score by Carter Burwell. It hearkens back to his more melodic work on the Coen brothers' earlier films, especially Miller's Crossing. Using themes from classic hymns from the time period of the film, the soundtrack, along with the language of the dialogue, helps add a very strong feeling of authenticity to the film. It is a beautiful piece of music: dramatic but not heavy- handed, whimsical but with a hint of darkness to it. These two long-time Coen collaborators, as well as the costume and set designers, with whom the Coens have also worked with many times before, all deliver top-notch work and show once again just how strong the power of long-term collaboration can be.Other returning collaborators are a number of the cast members. The Coens seem to have grown distant from most of their long-time regular cast members Jon Polito, John Turturro, John Goodman, Steven Buscemi, and others , but Coen regulars still make appearances in some of their recent work. In this case, it is "The Dude" Lebowski himself, Jeff Bridges, who makes his triumphant return in a Coen brothers film, filling the very large shoes of John Wayne, who gave an iconic performance as Rooster Cogburn in the first adaptation of True Grit, from 1969. Bridges brings his own unique style and sensibilities to the role, combining his drunken goofiness with the demeanor of a serious and very skilled hunter and lawman. It is a wonderful performance playing to all of Bridges' best abilities as an actor, and it is just a joy to watch. Also playing to his best qualities is Matt Damon, who delivers one of the loosest and most fun performances of his career as Texas Ranger LaBoeuf or "La Beef", as he is referred to, by himself as well, in the film . Damon is clearly having fun with the role, although like Bridges, he, too, manages to find a very excellent balance between the humor and the seriousness and skill his character has. But the standout performance has to be newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, who beat out 15,000 other girls for the part. Open casting calls often provide disappointing results, as nonprofessional actors tend to be just that – not professional. 14-year-old Steinfeld proves she is a talent to watch, though – she totally commands the screen with her strong-willed, stubborn character, and manages to hold her own against Bridges, Damon and Josh Brolin, who makes a brief but memorable appearance later in the film. It is a fantastic, powerful performance that is an absolute joy to watch. I foresee great things from Steinfeld in the future.Many people will be turned off by the straightforwardness of the storytelling in True Grit. I have already heard complaints that the film lacks poignancy. But that isn't what it lacks. What it lacks is irony. It's actually quite amazing to see a film so completely and utterly devoid of irony such as this one – it seems like most films these days, including the Coen brothers' recent output, all carry this air of cynicism about them. True Grit hearkens back to a more classic form of plot and character-driven storytelling, and in that sense, it succeeds immensely. Ultimately, True Grit is a piece of pure entertainment – and it is quite an entertaining film: thrilling, engaging, and very, very funny. I have read many opinions claiming that this "doesn't feel like a Coen brothers film," but its storytelling style and techniques actually remind me most of another classic Coen film, Miller's Crossing. That film was also completely stripped of irony and instead focused on telling a good old-fashioned yarn, nothing more, nothing less. So while True Grit is not one of the very best films in the Coen's oeuvre, it is still just a darn good film overall.
Get the comparisons out of the way, then give the film its due. (by winner55)
Let's get the comparisons with Henry Hathaway's version of the Charles Portis novel out of the way. The Coen Brothers certainly knew that, however much they want to 'go back to the source material,' their film would play against Hathaway's version.The Hathaway version, while tampering with details from the Portis original, remains strikingly true to its story and theme. This is most clear in the dialog - the decision not to tamper with Portis' language was decisive for the making of that film. The Coens' tampering with the novel is more subtle than Hathaway's <more>
film, but no less an interpretation.Approaching the characters and composition of the Coens' version without reference to the Hathaway film apparently proved impossible. For instance, the shoot-out at the dug-out cabin was re-written for a night-scene, but the camera angles remain pretty much the high-elevation shots Lucien Ballard provided Hathaway, inter-cut with full body shots of people getting wounded and horses running etc. also similar to Ballard's.Two performance stand out as striking examples of reference to the original film. Dakin Matthews seems to struggle mightily not to recreate Strother Martin's interpretation of the horse-trader Stonehill - and fails. Apparently Martin had the character down pat and there's nothing but to reproduce his interpretation. Far more to the point is Barry Pepper's interpretation of the desperate outlaw chief, Ned Pepper - it is pure Robert Duvall. Pepper can only match Duvall's self-aware determination - and he does - but he can't surpass it; nor can he find another interpretation to set off against Duvall's.As for the Coens' own re-interpretation of the Portis novel, what was most noticeable to me were the minor points simply dropped out of the story telling. The most irritating to me were a pair of lapses that are interconnected and combine to make an important point about the characters. 1. We never get to see Mattie tell Rooster that Chaney has linked up with Ned Pepper later Rooster does remark the fact, but how did he learn of it? ; 2 We don't get to hear Rooster's remarking how he shot Pepper through the upper lip because he was aiming at the lower lip . These two incidents combine to let the audience know that Cogburn's hidden agenda on the Chaney hunt is really Ned Pepper, he and Pepper have something of a feud going on - which information fills out the background detail for their final shoot-out. Except here we don't have that connection.Finally, the whole Mattie - Rooster issue: many critics are saying that Mattie is more at the center here than in the Hathaway picture, which focused attention on John Wayne's Cogburn. Not true. When we add up screen time and lines of dialog, we discover that Mattie not only has as much time and dialog in the Hathaway film but it is in much the same proportion to Cogburn's as in this one. If most remember the Hathaway film as a 'John Wayne film,' that is due simply to Wayne's bravura performance.Well, enough of the comparisons. Does the Coens' version measure up as film worth seeing on its own accord? Yes; we are presented here with a beautiful, frightening, amusing piece of 'Americana.' There are scenes approaching dream-like states, as in the meeting with the bear-man, and during Rooster's desperate drive to get Mattie to a doctor. Hailee Steinfeld is quite engaging, and Matt Damon develops an intriguing complexity that makes one wish he had more screen-time. Bridges' performance is the most problematic - Bridges plays Cogburn as a a kind of whimsical brute - as he rambles on with his life-story on the trail, we get the gnawing sense that, if we were not along for a dangerous manhunt and dependent on his abilities as a master man-hunter, Cogburn would be someone we would not like to know. This develops a distance between the audience and Cogburn that is actually rather on par for the Coens - there are no 'heros' in the Coen universe.Perhaps that's a good thing here. Mattie in her experiences with the wild men of the old west has encountered something larger than her life on the farm could ever get her. These are men who make their own laws and are not bound to statutory codes or biblical decrees, and adapt their own law to the wilds of the frontier that surrounds them. Mattie is a confirmed church-goer with a good lawyer, and if she weren't so determined on her revenge, she would actually be impossibly small-minded and dull. This is a subtext to the novel that both films attempt to convey, but neither quite captures, because it's difficult for any film maker to admit that the central character of the story is the least interesting.The age of such wild-men has passed. It is not that wild-men do not exist - wild-men show up quite frequently in Coen Brothers' films in contemporary settings - but now they are corrupted by moving outside the law and outside the commonplace, they grow sick and psychopathic. The killer in "Fargo" feeding the partner he's killed to a wood-chipper is as wild as one could get, but he is no longer larger than life, and evokes only the sickness at the heart of modernity, not any adaptation one would want to live with.We look back at historical moments like those of the Old West because anything seemed possible to them, whereas very little is possible for us. But that might simply be a wishful delusion - and the Coens' clear suspicion that it is really determines the limits of what they accomplish here. They don't present the West as 'it really was,' nor do they present what we want from it, rather they present a disappointment with it. Rooster Cogburn is indeed 'larger than life,' but we wouldn't want to spend any more time with him than we do.
Few directors working today in America have mastered form like the Coens, I discover this with every new film they make. True Grit is a commercial film made to please but I don't see a compromise in the making and it's still a distinctly Coen film if you pay notice. Try to take out the Coen character from the film and the film breaks apart, it's that tightly woven in the fabric of it.A Coen film works for me in the face of it, but I'm always on the lookout for what goes on behind, for the unseen cogs that grind out the fates of their characters. As with No Country, I came to <more>
this film looking to see is there a statement on violence, does it happen in a certain way and is the universe indifferent to it, is life worth a damn?This one here works very much like the Henry Hathaway film from '69, except everyone's better, where John Wayne played a character, Jeff Bridges plays a man, and even Barry Pepper betters my beloved Robert Duvall's turn as Ned Pepper. This probably won't do it for Jeff Bridges because we've been accustomed to expect a certain degree of po-faced seriousness from a great performance he snarled and staggered in Crazy Heart but he was serious about it , but he's one of the great actors of our times and I find this again in his Rooster Cogburn. Clint Eastwood also fell from a horse in Unforgiven and couldn't shoot a tin can to save his soul, but Munny "was" a scumbag, Cogburn still is and I like that. I like the courtroom scene where it's gradually revealed that he won't only bushwack those he needs to bring to justice, he will lie to make himself out to be the hero.Another interesting aspect here is how the concept of the gunslinger and the western with it has evolved. When John Wayne played Cogburn in the Hathaway film the reward for the audience was the smirk of watching John Wayne be that drunken failure. The casting mattered in our appreciation. In the remake, most comments seem to point out that it's a fairly traditional/entertaining western. The dastardly revisit of something that was revisionist in the 70's oddly seems to give, in our day, a traditional western. We've been accustomed to heroes who are not heroes, and maybe the erosion of that heroic archetype says something about the way we view the world now, as opposed to 30-40 years ago. Then we were beginning to realize that wars are not gloriously, justly won but survived and endured, now we know there is no clear struggle between dual opposites and have grown disenchanted as that knowledge has failed to prevent the same wars. Now we know there is stuff about the legends that don't make the print, or we are suspicious enough about legends to imagine them.Is this a traditional western then? Watching True Grit through the eyes of the brass 14yo girl reminded me of Winter's Bone, another film from the same year. In both cases a young girl is determined to plunge herself in a dark world of hurt and walk a path fraught with perils on all sides to achieve a moral purpose, both films maintain an appearance of realism, but what I get from them is a magical fantasy. This becomes more apparent when Mattie falls in the snakepit, but what about the hanged men who are really hanged high? The Hathaway film, ostensibly based on the same material, missed that note and played out a straight western. The Coen film unfolds as a hazy dream of that West. Although I wished for more open landscapes, it makes sense then that film narrows our gaze and clouds the margins. Perhaps we are even seeing the film as Mattie relives the experience in her old age, an affair shaped by memory and time.This is the marvellous touch effected by the Coens on the material; the minute recreation of the Old West as a historical place and the odd, incongruous moments found within it annihilate any authority over the material.The epilogue is important in that aspect.It's not only that Mattie's revenge didn't accomplish anything, that it was for her merely another practical inconvenience to be bargained, paid for, and settled, like her father's ponies and saddle or the service of the US Marshall before, but that she clings to the memory of it so fiercely. What's horrifying then is not so much the violence of the West but the idealization of that violence. The film closes in a time around the turn of the century, people like Cogburn roosted in Wild West shows for a cheering audience, and Mattie is one of the people who lived to tell the tales. Out of those tales, the western of John Ford and Raoul Walsh emerged to print the legend. In a roundabout fantastic way, the Coens give us the true account, the creation myth behind the western.