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Saturday, December 18, 2010

True Grit (2010)

A 14 year old Arkansas girl (Hailee Steinfeld) engages an aging, alcoholic, one eyed U.S. marshal named Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to help her catch the killer (Josh Brolin) of her father. Based on the novel by Charles Portis and previously filmed in 1969 to great acclaim and with an iconic performance by John Wayne (whose presence is missed) as Rooster Cogburn. The Coen Brothers stay closer to the tone and details of the novel but truth to tell, they're not all that unsimilar. The biggest boost is in the casting of Hailee Steinfeld as the girl, not only because she's closer in age to Mattie Ross than Kim Darby in the 1969 film but gives a wonderfully believable performance that single handedly makes the film worth watching. Bridges has some big shoes to fill and he's good but the biggest problem is that you're constantly aware that it's a well thought out performance rather than being organic. Matt Damon as Le Boeuf, the Texas ranger is an improvement over Glen Campbell (who wouldn't be?). Roger Deakins wide screen cinematography (shot in New Mexico and Texas) is impressive while Carter Burwell's score is not. Nicely done but still a disappointment. With Barry Pepper.

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