For those of you who saw the Duke in ‘True Grit’ back in 1969 or so and remember his Academy Award-winning performance as Rooster Cogburn, it may be hard to visualize Jeff Bridges in the role, but you’ll need to drop any preconceptions. The Coen brothers (Joel and Ethan) have come out with a Western that seems to have all the best qualities of the old genre plus a riveting new take on the original, adapted from the Charles Portis novel from 1968.
The Coen brothers have been a defining influence on American film making for the last two decades, and ‘True Grit’ proves without a doubt that they still have the golden touch.
The movie involves quite a bit of dialogue, interspersed with occasional and very effective blasts of violence, all of it coming together in a tight-knit presentation sparked by some excellent performances on the part of the cast.
13-year-old Hailee Seinfeld appears in her first major film as Mattie Ross, the young lady determined to avenge her father’s murder. She turns for help to crusty alcoholic Rooster Cogburn, (Bridges) in pursuit of the murderer, perennially scowling Josh Brolin as the cowardly Tom Chaney. Matt Damon is the Texas Ranger LeBoeuf, who is also after Chaney for another murder, and the chase involves some extraordinary cinematography by Roger Deakins as well as some really great dark humour and hair-raising action.
‘True Grit’ is already in the running for best picture of 2010, not surprising after the Coens’ previous ‘No Country For Old Men’ that took the award a couple years ago. Hailee Seinfeld might take home one of the best actress awards for her convincing performance as Mattie, and you can’t go wrong with the rest of the talented and proven cast and the total Coen artistry in this new/old Western.