7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Same plot as John Wayne version, very different effect. Watch both!,
This review is from: True Grit [DVD] (2010) (DVD)
I suppose the simplest way to describe this movie would be to say it's a remake of the John Wayne version with all the sentimentality (not to say camp) drained out. Whether you think that makes it more enjoyable than the original depends greatly on what you're looking for in a movie.
John Wayne has been, beyond question, in some outright great movies, and he makes the earlier version highly watchable basically by just doing his John Wayne thing throughout. But his very best movies have got something more, and personally I think he often did quite a bit better than "True Grit." (Best of all in "The Man who shot Liberty Valance", where his John-Wayneness is shown to epic advantage by the terrific compare-and-contrast performance of James Stewart.)
Not even Jeff Bridges can really make up for not having John Wayne in a Western, but for my money (YMMV and I don't blame you) this is a better film in every other respect. In particular, Hailee Steinfeld does a great job of making the 14 year old avenging angel Mattie Ross actually believable (no mean feat when you stop to think about it.)
Comparisons are odious. Watch both! (If you watch the JW version first, you'll have the bonus of picking up some sly homages in the later version, too.)