4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: True Grit [DVD] (2010) (DVD)
Just back from the cinema. I knew this was going to be good, but it surpassed my expectations and has to go down as a classic. Having read the book recently I was struck by the biblical quality and tone, both of the dialogue and prose. Portis' writing is similar to the Coens' and they followed the text closely. Its not quite a typical Coen brothers film - yes it has surreal moments (the bear man) and there is plenty of humour but for the most part it's a faithfully related story about retribution, friendship and duty. So, not surreal or weird, it's similar in many ways to No Country For Old Men, the Coen's like a raw tale as much as they like a quirk or two. Not for the first time the Coen's tap into folk and bluesgrass for the soundtrack - the score is based on traditional hymns and songs and the composer Carter Burwell imbues his arrangements with a haunting authenticity.
Hailee Steinfeld is great as the plucky kid out to avenge her father; courageous and vulnerable, she is the real purveyor of true grit, driving the men on when they begin to doubt - her Old Testament sense of right and wrong never wavers. Matt Damon is wonderfully subtle as the prissy and proper and Lebeoef. Jeff Bridges is funny, indecipherable and above all gutsy as Rooster Cogburn. The humour shines through, and again here the original work is well suited to the Coen's sensibility. What raises the film up though, is the great warmth and heart than it shows especially in the final act. The beauty of the night time flight of Rooster and Maddie really elevates it as a cinematic experience. A righteous tale everyone should hear and see; make sure you do, you'll love it.