15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A Western tale from the Coen brothers,
This review is from: True Grit [DVD] (2010) (DVD)
I haven't seen the original "True Grit" version starring John Wayne so I won't comment on any similarities or differences in the two movies. I have read that the Coen version is truer to the novel on which the two movies are based.
The story begins as Mattie Ross (Haillee Steinfeld) arrives in Fort Smith, Arkansas not long after her father has been murdered there. It is thought that she is merely collecting the body but this is no ordinary fourteen year old. She is determined to avenge his death by bringing the murderer to justice. He is thought to have escaped into a nearby Indian territory and the local sheriff has no interest in pursuing him.
He suggests that she hire a US Marshall to help her. She chooses Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), the Marshall with the most ruthless reputation. The youngster is determined to accompany the Marshall in the pursuit. Their cause is complicated by the presence of a Texas Ranger (Matt Damon) who has been pursuing the same man for a murder he committed in that state.
The Coens are nothing if not consummate filmmakers and "True Grit" is another well crafted, entertaining film from them. It is quite conventional in many ways. The characters of Cogburn and Ross are revealed us in two set piece scenes near the beginning of the movie. We see Hattie playing hardball as she negotiates with a trader over her father's affairs. Cogburn's modus operandi is shown as he testifies in the trial of one of the few men he didn't kill during a recent pursuit.
The film is ultimately about the characters rather than the plot. Almost all the characters are shown in a sympathetic light, even the "bad guys". For that reason the film could be accused of being sentimental
However the excellent script, direction and acting means that, sentimental or not, "True Grit" is a highly entertaining film.