Here’s my review of “True Grit” from KTKA-49.
In 1969, John Wayne won his only Oscar for playing an alcoholic, one-eyed fat man named Rooster Cogburn in “True Grit.” Jeff Bridges reprises the role in a new version of the story that isn’t a remake of the original movie, but rather a new adaptation of its source novel.
One notable difference is that writer/directors Joel and Ethan Coen bring back the old-timey Biblical cadence of the West. At first, it’s hard to understand the actors, but gradually, the way they speak becomes integral to the movie’s deadpan sense of humor.
Newcomer Hailee Steinfeld is very good as a precocious 14-year-old who’s not to be trifled with. She looking for a man with ‘true grit,’ so she hires Rooster—and with a cocky Texas Marshal played by Matt Damon, the three set out to find the man who killed her father.
Damon is perfectly calibrated and very funny, and Bridges takes the word ‘grizzly’ to a new level, firmly putting his own stamp on the character. The scenery is gorgeous and the film is shot beautifully as well.
Even though the Coens make a conscious turn away from sentimentality as often as they can—much like their crafty lead character—“True Grit” takes on an unexpected and understated poignancy in its final sequence, and that’s when you finally realize how great it was getting to know these characters.