I thought I knew what to expect from the Coen Brothers’ latest film project True Grit. I love a good western, and just watching the trailer for this film gave me the chills. As many of you already know this isn’t the first time Charles Portis’ 1968 novel has been adapted for the big screen. John Wayne won the Academy Award for Best Actor playing grizzled lawman Rooster Cogburn in the 1969 film. “Fill your hands, you son of a bitch,” may be the greatest line The Duke ever delivered. Yes, I was sure I knew what to expect. But with the Coen Brothers involved, I should also have been expecting some fun surprises.
The first surprise is that this movie is funny. This isn't a bad thing. The Coen Brothers added their brilliantly witty dialogue to this classic tale of kidnapping and murder and made the film their own. By combining those elements with an incredible cast, the Coens have whipped up one of the best American westerns since Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven.
It will come as no surprise that Jeff Bridges is awesome as Rooster Cogburn, but I was quite surprised to see Matt Damon, who I believe gave one of the best performances of his career as Texas Ranger LaBoeuf. Josh Brolin is fantastic (as always) as villain Tom Chaney, and it was great to see Barry Pepper in a small but good role as, oddly enough, Lucky Ned Pepper. The film’s biggest surprise is Hailee Steinfeld, who plays the film’s main character, Mattie Ross. The 14-year-old Steinfeld more than holds her own alongside this cast of incredible actors; she steals the show, blowing up the screen with her clever and whimsical personality. She deserves a Best Actress nomination, at least.
I had a lot of fun watching this movie, and I’m looking forward to seeing it again. Hollywood doesn’t make enough good westerns anymore. I hope True Grit does well at the box office because I want to see more entertaining, gritty western stories on the big screen again.
I loved True Grit and absolutely recommend it. I thought it was one of the best films of the year. Even so, I’m not sure how this movie will fare through the award season. It’s getting a lot of mixed reviews. Maybe it didn’t live up to some people’s expectations. But, I highly recommend that you go out and see this movie when it’s released.