Wednesday, December 22, 2010

True Grit- She said

I never really watched Westerns.  Ever. I haven't seen the classics like Unforgiven or The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.  The genre just never really appealed to me.  Honestly if it wasn't for the Coen brothers, I'm not sure I would have seen True Grit.  That's pretty awful to say, but it's the truth.  I would have probably gotten around to watching the movie eventually, but the genre is never a top my list.

Boy howdy was I wrong to go into this with any low expectations.  I loved the movie.  Now, the plot is pretty basic, and it never strays away and tries to become complex.  A young girl wants revenge on her father's death, and she enlists a mercenary to help her with that task.  However, what is brilliant from the Coen brothers is their ability to create such dynamic and interesting characters.  This really becomes a character film.  The absolute stand out star is young Hailee Steinfeld as the vocal Mattie Ross.  To be a relative newcomer and to hold your own with Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon is damn impressive.  She spits out her dialogue with such honesty, wit and believability that it made me jealous.  She is fantastic in every scene she's in.

Of course Matt Damon as LaBoeuf and Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn have tremendous chemistry.  You can tell there's a trust between the actors in screen.  They are able to play off each other's nuances and quirky traits with such ease. Another character I loved was Barry Pepper as Lucky Ned Pepper, the villain that has eluded Rooster for years.  It was Lucky Ned that I realized how talented the Coen brothers are at writing and creating character.  Lucky Ned could easily have been written as your standard Western bad guy with bad teeth, dirty skin, and with a drinking problem.  However, Ned has a few scenes that show he's a lot more dynamic.  I won't go any further because then we'll get into spoiler territory, but he's not exactly what you expect. 

Cinematographer Roger Deakins does a tremendous job in capturing the natural beauty of the landscape.  There are many breathtaking frames of Mattie, Rooster and LaBoeuf riding into the sunset.  The Texas landscape has never looked more gorgeous.  It made me want to ride off into the mountains, but I don't care for horses.

Overall, this movie is superb.  Usually a very generic plot bothers me; however, the Coen brothers used a simple plot to their advantage to make a movie about characters.  This is one of the Coen's best movies to date.  I actually wish they would write a play for the stage because I believe they would create something brilliant.  If anything, go see it for Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross.  Her performance alone is worth the price of admissions.

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