While “True Grit” is a well-made movie with interesting characters, one can’t help but feel like something about it was unremarkable, which actually seems to be exactly what the movie was going for; things just sort of happen to people, and life goes on.
The main character, Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), is on a quest for vengeance, namely to kill Tom Cheney (Josh Brolin), who incited her wrath by killing her father.
She knows that she cannot do this on her own, being a 14-year-old girl, so she enlists the help of Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), a lazy, but remarkably effective U.S. Marshal with questionable methods. The unlikely duo are joined by La Boeuf (Matt Damon), a Texas Ranger who is also after Tom Cheney.
Though the trailers for the movie would have you believe otherwise, Mattie is the main character here. The heroine is absolutely brought to life by the incredible acting of Hailee Steinfeld, who, after seeing her performance, I will never get in an argument with.
Sometimes younger actors can be of a less-than-stellar caliber than their adult counterparts, but Steinfeld steals the show––no small feat when in the company of veteran actor Jeff Bridges. I look forward to seeing more of her work.
Visually, the movie is great, showing a wide array of locations, some of which might not normally be associated with the West.
Probably the most striking scene in the film is set in a foggy, gray forest, where some of the strangest events take place.
The aforementioned scene is also the only one in the movie to possess the trademark quirkiness so characteristic of the Coen brothers, who directed the film.
Whereas other Coen brothers’ films such as “No Country For Old Men,” “Fargo” and “The Big Lebowski,” have an offbeat sensibility to them, “True Grit” pretty much plays it straight.
With “True Grit,” the Coen brothers set out to make a great Western, and they’ve succeeded. If a great Western with good characters is what you’re after, you will enjoy yourself.
If you expect a movie with a distinctly Coen style, change your expectations, because they will only hold you back from fully experiencing this film.
Even if you don’t know or care about the Coens, go see this movie. It’s just that good.