DVD RvReview: True Grit
It’s the most successful Coen brothers movie in history yet it was totally ignored at the Oscars. What did Ross McG think of True Grit? Find out below…
True Grit (five stars)
If anything it’s surprising that Joel and Ethan Coen had never made a western before True Grit. The landscapes and language of the genre suit the pair’s aesthetic like a comfy pair of spur-heeled boots. Indeed, many of their films are westerns in all but name. Miller’s Crossing, Fargo and No Country For Old Men are all tales that share the brio and brutality of the finest horse operas. Heck, even The Big Lebowski could have have been set on the frontier, dealing as it does with one man’s wandering through the American wilderness. And so it is fitting that the Coens turn to The Dude himself for their eventual venture into the west. Jeff Bridges is one of the few actors who could take a turn made famous by John Wayne, who starred in the 1969 version, and make it his own. His version of whiskey-loving US Marshal Rooster Cogburn is a terrific creation, less swaggering (and coherent) than Wayne’s perhaps, but more endearing for his fallibility. Cogburn soon finds himself matched in the stubborn stakes by 14-year-old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), who hires him to catch the man who killed her father. Steinfeld plays Mattie like a teenage Calamity Jane and is just as splendid as her more illustrious co-star. Refreshingly faithful to Charles Portis’ novel, the Coen brothers’ True Grit is a thing of wonder: funny, beautiful, violent and touching. Whisper it (particularly when in the company of White Russian-quaffing, bearded vagabonds) but it might be their most entertaining movie yet.
This review first appeared in the Metro newspaper
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