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Saturday, January 8, 2011

[7.25/10] True Grit (2010)


True Grit (2010)

Brief review: "True Grit" is the second adaptation of 1968 novel, this time brought by the well-acclaimed filmmakers, Ethal and Joel Coen, who has put a contemporary, darkly comic twist to the classic western story. While most of the Coens' films suffer from a specific pretentiousness, thankfully, the case with "True Gift" is vastly different. Despite being a bit sluggish, there's a lot to be enjoyed in this dialogue-driven western. Though the plot is assiduously developed, the main focus is more on the characters, rather than the situations. The characters themselves are terrificly-portrayed. The newcomer Hailee Steinfeld gives a fierce, show-stealing performance as the smart and determined Mattie, but it's Jeff Bridges who makes the biggest impression, as he delivers an award-worthy performance as the overly confident, dry-humored aging marshal. Matt Damon is decent in his role, though he seems a bit out of place. The dialogues are clever and witty, if way overwritten at times, and Coens' direction is slick and precise, as they provide us with many great shots and diverse camera angles. Though the scenery mostly consists of barren wilderness, it's interesting to watch, and the pale-colored cinematography suits the mood of the film quite well.

Overall summary: Well-crafted and brilliantly-acted, if slightly overwritten, "True Grit" is a solid old-school western done right, though not one of the Coen Brothers' most impressive achievements.

14 comments:

Vapor said...

How does it stand up to the John Wayne version?

Nebular said...

Vapor, for better or worse, I haven't seen John Wayne's version, so I'm not able to make a comparison at this time.

Melissa Bradley said...

I am dying to see this because I am huge fan of the original. I love the Coen brothers and wondered if they would top my faves so far No Country for Old Men and Fargo.

Nebular said...

Melissa, honestly said, I'm not a big fan of the Coens. I just don't get them and find their films mostly boring and pretentious. Don't hate me for that :) "Blood Simple" and "Fargo" were great though. As for "No Country"... well I found it to be just average.

Melissa Bradley said...

I could never hate you George. :)

Nebular said...

I know, sweetheart, I know :)

MDV said...

Interesting take. I always respect your well conceived reviews. Of course I disagree on this one. My strongest contention in support of True Grit (it's one of my top 10 of 2010 films) is the direction of the Coen Brothers, aided by a masterfully efficient ensemble cast.

The Coen Brothers attempted to revive the old school western genre -- and to an extent, they were largely successful. This is precisely why I loved the film.

Your articulated flaws are certainly understandable, but they do not taint my overall appreciation of the film because I was genuinely surprised by the unique direction of the Coen Brothers. They still imbued their classically consistent sense of offbeat, oddball humor, but they were also meticulously painstaking in their efforts to create (against their niche film style) a true-to-genre western. So kudos to the Coen Brothers for this turncoat approach.

Also, I would be remiss if I did not declare my utter disappointment in the ending (I will not give it away but it did not register with me in the traditional, anti-climactic sense).

Thanks for the review. You always deliver such thought-provoking opinions.

Matt

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Some of the Coen movies are too much for me, but overall I enjoy their quirkiness. I liked the pacing in this one. And you nailed it - Oscar worthy performances.

Nebular said...

I don't have problems with slow pacing at all, Alex, but other people have, so I was trying to warn them :)

Bridges was nothing short of amazing!

Nebular said...

Wow, Matt, thanks for your detailed comment. It's actually longer than the review itself. :)

I didn't say anything bad about Coens' direction and I did mention tha acting was exceptional. I just thought the story was way to ordinary and rather dated. Plus, though clever, the script was exhaustingly overwritten in parts. I agree, the ending was a bit of a let down for me as well.

Not that I hate Coens.. they're just not my cup of tea :)

Thanks again, Matt. Your comments are always appreciated.

russbetney said...

Unfortunately True Grit isn't out in the UK until 11th February :( However, as a big fan of Coens and Westerns, I am looking forward to it.

russbetney (aka FilmsrRuss)

Nebular said...

Hey, Russ, and welcome to CineMarvellous! :)
I'm not a big fan of either Coens or Westerns, but I still enjoyed it a lot.

J-SON said...

I think True Grit is coming to my region, the Golden Globes are just around the corner and we have yet to watch all the award season films. Not that the Globes matter but this is so sad because I can't comment on the film itself.

Nebular said...

I think I've seen all nominated films, except for King's Speech, so I'm ready for the Globes as well as the Oscars :) If I have to be honest, I wouldn't pay to see True Grit on big screen. I watched a Screener for free :)