True Grit (2010)


(out of 5)

 is excellent as a fourteen year-old girl who leaves her rural county to head to the big city and find the man who shot her father. Having deduced his name and the direction in which he has headed, this young spitfire works a miraculous deal with a banker in order to put together a stash of money that she can use to hire a bounty hunter. The one she wants is an aging, failing and ornery old coot () who resists her offer at first but eventually gives in because, quite frankly, he’s not likely to see this kind of action much more in his dwindling life. The two of them are joined on their trek by a tall-tale spouting Texas ranger () who wants her father’s killer () for his own reasons. This absorbing remake of the 1969 Henry Hathaway original starring John Wayne finds the Coen brothers somewhere between their best and their worst (though definitely closer to the former). When they leave the quirky self-awareness behind, as in masterpieces like Fargo and No Country For Old Men, their films are so much more enjoyable than when they produce their cloying tributes to their favourite genres (The Hudsucker Proxy, Miller’s Crossing and Burn After Reading spring to, and grate on, the mind). Here they have assembled a superb cast, written a knock-out screenplay and made a film that is intelligent and incredibly entertaining, even if it is short-shrifted by an anticlimatic ending that fails to deliver a punch. There are still shades of smarmy cuteness here and there: as with their more trying films, you feel not like you’re watching a movie, but a movie of a movie, but here the Coens wisely keep the pony tricks to a minimum (for them) and the film is overall a wonderful experience.

, , ,

USA, 2010

Directed by ,

Screenplay by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, based on the novel by

Cinematography by

Produced by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Academy Awards 2010

American Film Institute 2010.  

Washington Film Critics Awards 2010.  

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