True Grit

I never saw the original True Grit and I never read the novel.  All I knew going into the theater was that it was a Coen Brothers' film starring Jeff Bridges.  Jeff Bridges was fantastic.  I could almost smell the booze on his breath from my seat in the theater.  His Rooster Cogburn is a mesh of dirty swagger and rugged gentleness.   He has a quiet respect for the young Mattie (played by newcomer Hailee Steinfeld) and his unexpected loyalty reveals itself slowly over the 2-hour film.

Speaking of slow, the film's pace was not what I expected from a hunt-'em-down-shoot-'em-up Western.  I was on the verge of restlessness near the end and if the film had been just five minutes longer, it would've been too much.    But ... it wasn't.  The Coen Brothers are expert filmmakers.  They know when to push and when to edit.  Granted, True Grit was not as eccentric or quirky as other Coen Brothers films, but their trademark storytelling style remains.  One of the final scenes shows Cogburn rushing to save Mattie's life and riding her horse into exhaustion.  At the time, this was the point where I felt the movie was on the edge of "too long."  However, when the horse becomes too fatigued to continue on, Cogburn pulls out his knife and stabs the horse in the hindquarter to spur it along.  This small act injects a fervent energy into the scene and shifts the action at just the right moment.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie.  I don't fully understand all the Oscar buzz but I do think it's worth a trip to the theater. 

1 comment

  1. I was enthralled by this movie. I loved the persistent humor the Cohen's and their incredibly talented actors were able to find in what is a very hard, and very bleak life. We must agree to disagree about the pace. When it ended, I looked over at Tom and said "wow, that few by!" Of course, I grew up watching old westerns and so that probably does color my own expectations of what westerns will be.


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