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Treeview: True Grit

Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld In True Grit
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

It’s not often that I get excited about seeing a western, but if the Coen brothers made it; I’m all in!

Granted this movie came out a few weeks ago but it takes me a while to get out to the theaters usually (you try to find time for movies every week with 2 jobs and 3 kids). If you’re like me and have been too busy to catch True Grit, I would HIGHLY suggest you make time for it in your schedule. It says a lot that this is the Coens’ highest grossing movie and has moved to number one at the box office after it’s third week in play (suck on that, Fockers!)

The Coen brothers take on the 1968 Charles Portis novel is the second film adaptation, the first being the 1969 version starring John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn (his only academy award winning role). This time around Jeff Bridges sports the eye patch and is almost unrecognizable from his character in the last Coen Brothers film he did (The Dude of course fromThe Big Lebowski). There is one scene in particular that does kind of remind me of The Dude involving cornbread, you’ll see what I mean. I’m almost certain Bridges will score an Oscar for his turn as Cogburn as well. Almost everything he says is hilarious and spot on, not to mention his character is a drunken badass. Bridges isn’t the only one who is brilliant in this film, in fact the best performance comes from 14 year old Hailee Steinfeld. The film is centered on her character Mattie Ross for a majority of the film and she definitely keeps you watching. There isn’t much action early on but the Coens know how to keep you interested, this is where Steinfeld really stands out. She throws down most of the films funniest lines and that’s not easy to do with Bridges as your co-star. The Coen bros auditioned 15,000 girls for the role of Mattie Ross and it definitely payed off, I don’t think they could’ve found anyone better. Matt Damon also stars and he turns in a solid performance but is outshined by his two co-stars. I didn’t get why every time he was on screen he just blankly stared at the camera and said “Matt Damon” in a caveman voice. Just kidding, he actually plays a Texas ranger who sounded strikingly similar to Ron “Tater Salad” White.

The movie is about Mattie Ross seeking revenge on outlaw Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) for the unjust murder of her father. When the authorities fail to jump to her aid she employs grizzled U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn to exact justice on Chaney. They eventually combine their efforts with Texas ranger La Bouef (Damon) who has been on the trail of Chaney for several months.

This movie is just great film making at its’ best and I’m sure it’s gonna snag Oscars for Bridges, Steinfeld, and possibly best picture. The Coens might even get another Oscar for best director, an honor they received for 2007′s No Country for Old Men. They have made a very entertaining western but instead of using gunplay to keep you interested, they use dialogue. As always with the Coens the film looks incredible, every shot looks like it was planned at great length. Even if you hate westerns you have to see this movie, it trancends the genre and is one of the best I’ve seen in recent years. My only complaint is that the film is too short, which sounds kind of dumb because the movie is just short of two hours. You like the characters so much that by the end of the film you’re disappointed you have to go. It does seem like your only halfway through the movie when it starts to end though and really that’s all the bad I can say about True Grit.

Final Verdict: The brilliance of Joel and Ethan Coen never fails to amaze me. Jeff Bridges and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld turn in amazing performances in one of the best movies I’ve seen in recent memory. A-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uco41pOKeJg

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