true grit (2010)

Let's hear some praise for the Coen Brothers. For the fourth time in a row they serve up a winning film and they make it look easy. If you're still scratching your head wondering why the Coens would pick the mediocre late-60's western (whose only redeeming quality was an awesome performance) for their next film, you'll probably still be wondering when you leave the theater. But they elevate the film just the same, by fleshing out characters, not through more exposition or backstory, but by deeper richer scenes, each line and action revealing an old west which is finite and definitive, which is balanced and, in a way, at peace. It's a revenge movie that doesn't celebrate revenge, but rather searches for order. The Coens envision the old west as a place where mere men must masquerade as legends just to keep up appearances. The characters' frankness becomes comical as the film goes on but poignant when they maintain it through death. Scenes are continuously given to us in wide, a full frame in which to view the action. There are no secrets in this film, everything happens in plain sight, no character has cause to lie, you get the point. The performances are all top notch, especially Matt Damon who could have come off so ham-fisted and instead is genuine. Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld vie for the best performer on the screen, and they're great to watch. I didn't think anyone could make me forget John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn, but Bridges makes the role his own. A great piece in its own right, but let's resist the temptation to remake the love-story sequel too, ok? Who am I kidding, I'm sure it would be great. As usual the Coens seem to hit the mark right where they aimed, this was never meant to be anything but a solid picture, much like Burn After Reading. Their time and care in crafting every frame of this western pays off in a great 2 hours, definitely check it out.