Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Coen Brothers' "True Grit"

Less than impressed by this re-make of a John Wayne classic, both adapted from a Charles Portis novel of the same name. Good acting from Jeff Bridges (Rooster Cogburn), Hailee Steinfeld (Mattie Ross), Matt Damon (LaBouef), and Josh Brolin (Tom Chaney). Beautiful cinematography by Roger Deakins. Sympathetic score by Carter Burwell. But the story is just so-so. Young girl hunts for her father's killer with the reluctant help of a drunken U.S. Marshal and an insecure Texas Ranger. As was expected of me, I admired Mattie's gumption, appreciated Rooster's dishonorable honor, and liked LaBouef's show-off. And I was mildly bored, because these characters did not surprise me or themselves. If this is a Western classic, no wonder the genre has never had much appeal for me. I have read reviews that try to see the film as a postmodernist take on the genre, but that interpretation does not persuade me. What is left in me is a couple of surrealistic, non-essential scenes. The man hanged very high up from a very high tree. The medicine man with a bear head for a hat.

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