With an amazing line of some of the best movies in the past 25 years, the Coen brothers decided to tackle an American classic, “True Grit.” Much like their Academy award winning movie, “No Country For Old Men,” the brother chose to stick closely to the written material (both were great novels before becoming movies) and allow the dialogue & the dark humor tell the story.
14-year old Mattie Ross, played by Haille Steinfeld, is out to seek revenge on the man who killed her father. In turn, she hires a tough Marshal with “true grit”, played by Jeff Bridges, to find him. Along the way, a Texas Ranger, played by Matt Damon, joins them in their search for the fugitive and the race is on to see if he is brought to justice or if the heroes of the story will perish in their search for him.
There are lots of reasons to like this film. The Coen’s are ALWAYS good viewing and I would put probably 4 or 5 of their films in my all-time favorites! All the actors are top notch, nailing even the stilted dialect of the time period, and the locations are excellent! But for whatever reason, I wasn’t blown away by “True Grit” the way I was with “Fargo,” “No Country,” “Raising Arizona” or even “O Brother Where Art Thou.” This is a simple story. Not a lot of depth to it. And aside from the performances of Bridges (mumbling barely audibly under his breath most the time) and Steinfeld (in her first notable role), there isn’t a lot more to tell you other than what I’ve already said without giving anything away and much like the Coen’s “Burn After Reading,” this movie is one that once I’ve seen it, I can say I saw it, I liked it, but there’s not much more to go on than that. Is it required viewing? Probably not. But if you DO find yourself at the theater to see it, odds are you will enjoy it and that will be that. It’s NOT the Coen’s defining film…but once again, it’s heads above some of the other stuff out there right now!
Overall Rating: B-