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Film Festival Today

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Film Review: True Grit

Written by: FFT Webmaster | December 22nd, 2010

***1/2

Image from TRUE GRIT

Directors Joel and Ethan Coen’s latest adapts the 1968 novel by Charles Portis with more fidelity to the written page than the original film that won John Wayne his only Oscar.

The story of a righteous young woman named Mattie Ross (played by unknown and wonderful Hailee Steinfeld, her plain-faced countenance ensconced in a pair of girlish braids) who hires the roughest, toughest lawman she can find to track down her father’s killer (a sly, wicked Josh Brolin), “True Grit” contemporizes Henry Hathaway’s old-fashioned Western through Jeff Bridge’s sarcastic portrayal of Rooster Cogburn, the obese and one-eyed U.S. Marshal and Matt Damon’s vain Texas Ranger known as LaBoeuf. The Coens bravely expand the role of the valiant 14 year dynamo from Arkansas, Mattie, making her the driving force of the plot., Steinfeld’s Mattie is a plain, almost homely girl whose naive sense of justice doesn’t jibe with the untamed wilderness of the Choctaw Nation, where her story unfolds. Though the Coens tone down Mattie a bit, her dispassionate view of violence matches the directors’ own, which makes for several unflinching displays of Wild West punishment — and a return to the book’s tough-luck epilogue. DP, Rodger Deakins is at the top of his game as he renders the West in all its visual splendour and the Coens deliver another solid contribution to their oeuvre and our entertainment.

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