I’m not really a fan of remakes also – Hollywood seem to make them for no real reason, and therefore little artistic reason. A film (or novel), if it is to be retold should be done in such a way that it differs immensely and/or includes much more of it’s original source than it’s predecessor.
The above case is why I was keen to see this Coen Brothers take on the idea, again, even though I’d not seen the 1969 version. I make exceptions for Ethan & Joel (Coen) as, and we all should know this, their directing style – and let’s not forget their writing style, as without this it would be a different ‘story’ – gives us vibrant and fascinating characters, stylish shots & larger-than-life characters.
Of these characters – and I guess the main one, some would say – we are introduced to a young girl named Mattie. She may not have the quirks of a Coen Character to look at but when she speaks it is like a far-too-educated adult in a girl’s mind & body. To look at, I was almost immediately reminding me of Dorothy from Wizard Of Oz. I hope we’ll see more from the brilliant Hailee Steinfeld soon.
Next up is the unmistakeable gravelly twang of the brilliant Jeff Bridge. We don’t see him but we know who it is…As I say, unmistakable.
Now, the next main character is mistakable, in my opinion. If I didn’t realise that Matt Damon was featured in this movie prior to seeing it, I would have been trying to guess whom this actor was on first appearance. Note: I’m not one for big actors or the necessity for them to feature in a movie but I would definitely have a “I know that face, but who is it” moment at this point in True Grit. Damon is truly out of character here.
Enough about these few characters, we all know that the Coen Brothers have a brilliant way of turning actors into bizarre, almost-grotesquely-strange and unique characters…& the same can be said for Josh Brolin – out of character but not majorly. He appears much later in the movie, incidentally.
The story moves along smoothly and in a very linear way…more so than other films by Joel & Ethan, it is thought…and I have to agree.
Without giving away the plot – for those who don’t know already – I’ll just add the fact that as much as it is a drama and comedy it’s also, suspenseful & brutal in places. It also, despite being all these things manages to contain a few traditional western-like scenes, landscapes & music. The latter being epic sounding and reminiscent of the wild west that we all know so well.
The movie has everything. Dry wit, desert landscapes & western characters You’ll hopefully feel like you’ve been on the land with them…and go home with the True Grit of sand between your toes.