Thursday, December 30, 2010

Movie Review - True Grit

This is a film that I had been looking forward to for some time; the Coen brothers are master filmmakers and the entire cast gave me hope that this would be a great movie. While not an original story (this film is a remake of the John Wayne film of the same name) it is a story very well told and is a solid western.

Having not seen the original, I can't make any comparisons here, but True Grit is fantastically shot and acted; Jeff Bridges is completely at home as Rooster Cogburn, and Matt Damon shines in his role as a cocky Texas Ranger. Josh Brolin, while a good actor, doesn't really get a chance to flex in his role as Tom Cheney, the villain of the story, which is a slight disappointment.  Hailie Steinfeld as Mattie Ross is fantastic, with a nearly tangible energy exuding form her character.

The cinematagrophy, done by Roger Deakins isn't really up to par with his other work (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, No Country for Old Men), but it is generally pleasing and very competently done. The last 10-15 minutes of the film, however, are shot fantastically and really showed Deakins talent for shots.

A minor complaint I would have for this movie is that there aren't any real brilliant moments here, and coming from the Coen brothers I did have somewhat higher expectations; everything is good and even really good, but there's no moments that really made me sit and and say "wow". As I said above, however, the final 10-15 minutes of the film really save the movie for me, with brilliant interplay between music an cinematagrophy which really show the talent of the directors. I wish the entire film had been shot in that style, honestly.

All in all, this is a good, solid western; full of gunplay, showdowns, villainous villains, rough cut good guys and a good story. While not a brilliant, genre defining movie, True Grit is definitely worth your time to see and so far is one of the better films to come out this year.

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