3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Best Coen Film Yet,
This review is from: True Grit [DVD] (2010) (DVD)
The Coen brothers western is a truly gritty adventure that is directed and scripted in their usual characteristically oddball style. In this film they show a great maturity as filmmakers. Many of their other movies never reached this kind of seriousness. This is their masterpiece.
The story follows a young girl called Mattie Ross (Hailee Stienfeld) whose father has been killed. She is out to find the meanest gun for hire, which brings her to the drunken ruff neck Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges in his best role since The Big Lebowski). We realise Mattie is quite obstinate and perhaps used to getting her own way when she will not take no for an answer from the weather beaten old gunslinger. He does however agree to help her hunt down the killer. The two become three when another bounty hunter called Labeof (Matt Damon) throws in with them.
Their adventure takes them across the vast American wilderness that has not looked so great in a western since the films of John Ford. Scenes in the film echo and pay homage to other western classics. The scene in the beginning of the film when Mattie steps off the train and the camera pans up to show the old west town echoes the scene where Claudia Cardinal's character does the same In Once Upon A Time In The West. The scenes when Rooster and Mattie are riding through the woods as it snows echoes and pays homage to The Searchers.
True Grit has two great montage sequences that give the viewer a wonderful opportunity to lap up the beauty of the American landscapes. The set pieces are stunning, the shootouts superb.
Hailee Steinfeld plays Mattie in a performance that is a masterpiece in its self. She was just thirteen when she played the part. Her role in the film is a true reminder that often children can be wiser than adults.