Monday 23 May 2011

Today's Review: True Grit

I'd begun to lose faith in the Coen brothers. I haven't seen all of their movies, I'll be honest. I'm not as much of a fanatic about them as a lot of people are. For example, I've only seen The Big Lebowski once, and I must not have given it the attention it deserves, as I didn't think it was amazing and everyone else seems to. Fargo was very good however, and No Country For Old Men has earned its place in my Blu-Ray collection. But after that came Burn After Reading, which was alright, and then A Serious Man, which I didn't get in the slightest. Oh well, I thought, it was good for a while there. But now the Coen's have brought me True Grit, and I'm hay again. 

It seems that the Coens felt they were slipping too, because they've brought back the stars of two of their biggest movies, Jeff Bridges and Josh Brolin, and returned to the dusty setting that served them well in No Country For Old Men. Just look at that poster up there, it looks awesome. Bridges, Brolin, Damon, all great names. Wait, who's that girl hanging out in the background? Don't mind her, she's a newcomer.

Oh wait, do mind her, because she pretty much steals the show. Hailee Stanfield plays Mattie Ross, a girl looking to avenge the death of her father in the old West, and looking to hire a ranger with "true grit", Rooster Cogburn (Bridges) to help her track down the guy who did it. So off they set into dangerous territory, swapping stories and insults along the way. Mattie seems to have some grit herself, because she never lets up on her mission, and is determined to see that everything is done according to her plan, despite Texas ranger LaBoeuf (Damon) getting in the way.

This is one of those movies that I did not want to stop watching. Normally after 15 minutes or so of a movie I get distracted by something on the internet, or start playing with my phone, because I'm a product of the 21st Century. But True Grit managed to hold my attention all the way through, and I loved every minute of it. Every single character was so well thought out, and their portrayals were absolutely perfect. Even the somewhat brief appearances by the villains near the end were completely awesome, especially Barry Pepper's portrayal of the spit-happy bandit Lucky Ned. Not only were the characters great in their own right, the repartee between them was outstanding. Be it Mattie and Cogburn swapping life stories or a standoff between hero and villain, the script does suffer and always holds your attention. There's a part at a campfire where after a lengthy conversation Mattie says she'll tell everyone a ghost story, before the scene ends. I would've loved to have heard that story, especially since she was getting her companions involved. The ability to provide me with lengthy dialogue in movies and still leave me wanting more has only lately been matched by Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. 

But a movie can't just get by on the acting, no matter how good it is. But True Grit delivers in every way. It's beautifully shot, the story is wonderfully paced, the settings and costumes look so authentic. Even the way everyone delivers their lines seems perfect, everyone growling, enunciating properly and using all the slang you'd expect a rough cowboy to use. Even though my only reference material for such is other Western movies, but still. Awesome. It's easy to see why it was nominated for ten Academy Awards, because every individual aspect of it comes together wonderfully.

This is the part where I'd usually talk about the bad points, but I couldn't find any. Sure, people may have talked for longer than is normally entertaining, but with this strong a script it's not a bad point at all. At no point was I sitting and thinking the scene I was watching was unnecessary, and I love to point out when that happens. 

Nope, True Grit is just awesome. So watch it.

My rating: 5/5

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