Following the murder of her father by hired hand Tom Chaney, 14-year-old farm girl Mattie Ross sets out to capture the killer. To aid her, she hires the toughest U.S. marshal she can find, a man with "true grit," Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn. Mattie insists on accompanying Cogburn, whose drinking, sloth, and generally reprobate character do not augment her faith in him. Against his wishes, she joins him in his trek into the Indian Nations in search of Chaney. They are joined by Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, who wants Chaney for his own purposes. The unlikely trio find danger and surprises on the journey, and each has his or her "grit" tested.Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Bear Man tells Rooster and Mattie that there is nothing north of the "picketwire." This is the Purgatoire River in southeastern Colorado, known locally as the Picketwire River or the Purgatory River. See more »
In the grocery store back room scene, the closeup of Rooster Cogburn brushing past the ducks shows the ducks hanging separately. In all wider shots in which the ducks can be seen, they are hanging in a tight group. See more »
People do not give it credence that a young girl could leave home and go off in the wintertime to avenge her father's blood. But it did happen. I was just 14 years of age when a coward by the name of Tom Chaney shot my father down and robbed him of his life and his horse and two California gold pieces that he carried in his trouser band. Chaney was a hired man and Papa had taken him up to Fort Smith to help lead back a string of Mustang ponies he'd bought. In town, Chaney had ...
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Drew Houpt is credited as "The New Duke", an apparent reference to John Wayne ('The Duke') who starred in the original film. See more »
Jeff Bridges gets to put his own spin on the character of Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn, first portrayed by an Oscar-winning John Wayne in the 1969 film adaptation. Rooster is hired by a very plucky 14 year old girl, Mattie Ross (debuting Hailee Steinfeld), who wants to avenge her father. Dad was murdered by the cowardly Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), who made out for Indian territory and who may now be riding with an outlaw, Ned Pepper (Barry Pepper), and his gang. They are joined by a determined Texas Ranger, LaBoeuf (Matt Damon), who wants to arrest Chaney for a crime committed in the Lone Star state.
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.
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