Friday, July 15, 2011

True Grit - 2010

IMDB says... PG-13, 2010, 110 minutes
A tough U.S. Marshal helps a stubborn young woman track down her father's murderer.

The 73rd Virgin says... Never read the book. The original movie is one of the best of the dying years of the Western. This is even better. It is difficult to overstate the gratitude I feel that the Coen brothers have finally turned their attention to a Western. Not quite "Unforgiven" or "No Country for Old Men", but easily the best movie I have seen in the past couple years.

I assume without knowledge that the lovely contraction-free dialogue is period appropriate. It is one of the best features and is even better when contrasted with Bridges gruff delivery. Kim Darby's Mattie Ross was one of the most unique heroines of the last 50 years, and Hallie Steinfeld fills her shoes. I admire that, as cute as she can be, she is also allowed to be tall and rawboned and gawky rather than just wise beyond her years. The overly precocious teenager is one of the most tiresome movie cliches but she pulls it off thanks to the care with which the lines are written and delivered.

I also admire the Coen's recreation of a beautiful starlit sky projected over Cogburn and Mattie during their last run. Only plains people would bother with this detail, but who sees it knows it. Between the snows of "Fargo", the scrub of "No Country For Old Men", the tornado of "A Serious Man", and this, they acknowledge how landscape affects stories and characters. The Coen's also wisely leave the final shootout and hilarious dialogue pretty much unchanged from the original movie, and finally end it as all real westerns should end, with one figure walking away from a grave.

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