Ethan and Joel Coen's latest, True Grit, isn't another edgy, idiosyncratic drama from the film-making brothers, but an adaptation of the 1968 novel and update of the 1969 movie starring John Wayne.
Ethan and Joel Coen's latest, True Grit, isn't another edgy, idiosyncratic drama from the film-making brothers, but an adaptation of the 1968 novel and update of the 1969 movie starring John Wayne. In Wayne's Oscar-winning role of Rooster Cogburn is Jeff Bridges, who is approaching his own legendary status. Hailee Steinfeld is equally important to the film, as the movie's heroine, 14-year-old Mattie Ross.
Mattie is on a quest to avenge her father's death at the hands of the cowardly Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), and she leaves her family to find a marshal worthy of her hunt. She finds what she's looking for in Cogburn, despite the fact that he's a grizzled, whiskey-soaked curmudgeon. Also in the picture is Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, played to ostentatious perfection by Matt Damon. LaBoeuf is an opponent to Mattie at first — he's also pursuing Chaney, but on a different charge. Cogburn and LaBoeuf team up to find Chaney together, conspiring to leave Mattie behind, sure that a "little girl" will only handicap them.
Riding off into the wilderness with Mattie, Cogburn, and LaBoeuf gives us the bulk of the action, and on that ride it becomes clear: the Coen brothers aren't trying to reinvent anything; this is a true Western, faithful to the book and genre. It's a sweeping accomplishment with a satisfying outcome. To find out what else I enjoyed about True Grit, just read more