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True Grit (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
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476 of 520 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2011
Format: DVD
This movie is a very ambitious undertaking by the Coens who are perhaps the best ambitious project writers & directors around. That this would be compared to the original TRUE GRIT & that Jeff Bridges would face comparison with John Wayne's Rooster Cogburn was inevitable.

Yet this is a different TRUE GRIT. Not in major story line but rather in the personalities as displayed in the book. Truth be told, the original, which I love, was much more John Wayne does John Wayne in TRUE GRIT than it was John Wayne becomes Rooster Cogburn in TRUE GRIT. The Coens set out to make a movie truer to its literary source & in that they have succeeded.

I heard one complaint that Jeff Bridges would never be anything but Lloyd Bridge's son to a reviewer. How prejudicially blind. For one thing Jeff Bridges is a far better actor (able to change personality to fit a role) than his father & most certainly exceeds John Wayne who was a TOWERING screen presence but had to be cast as John Wayne or look & sound poorly. Wayne's voice was far beyond his control. Bridges will never equal that presence but who can?

I heard that there were times when Bridges speech was hard to understand. Are we to send him to the alcoholic school for elocution? Of course he was difficult to understand, he was a raging drunk as in the book, not the grinning drinker Wayne played. Quite frankly it reminded me of the time I read a review that stated a certain girl walked around & looked vacant which made the show poor. She was playing a withdrawn girl with deep emotional problems, duh!

This movie is a marvelously period perfect movie & the outdoor shots are the equal of any good western around. Matt Damon gives his best performance doing the Texas Ranger according to the book, and he became a better actor in doing so. Josh Brolin & Hailee Steinfeld (who is a great foil for Bridge's Cogburn) makes no mistakes in their portrayals either.

This is a master piece of literary translation & a tremendous job of casting, acting & photography. I see so many shows now that have too many close-ups with no facial expression to see. Not so here. They made good use of close ups.

If you intend to go see this & judge whether it is the equal of the original, you will be disappointed. It's not meant to be a modern original. This show is its own interpretation of the story of True Grit. If you intend to judge Bridges or any other character on whether they equaled the original you are wasting your time. This movie is an entire show on its own. It is the book in video images & the combination of personalities make a complete story. I loved it.

In honor of The Duke who is unmatched in force & stature, I respectfully withhold a 1/2 star from this show. I think the Coens might be willing to accept that.
4 1/2 STARS.
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106 of 119 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
In my world, the arrival of any film by the estimable Coen brothers is a welcome sight. But I must admit, I was a little surprised when I heard they were taking on a new version of "True Grit." In a sly way, however, it made sense. I have always felt that the 1969 John Wayne film version underserved the subversively comic masterwork by Charles Portis. I thought that perhaps the Coens were, thus, the ideal pair to bring the cynicism, eccentricity and subtle humor of this fine novel (and underrated American classic) to the big screen. The Coens assembled a big-name cast including Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Barry Pepper and Josh Brolin for this incarnation that manages to be true to both the source novel and the previous film--but isn't really a definitive new vision. However, that said, this "True Grit" is a solidly constructed and very entertaining western that has a lot to recommend it.

Unfamiliar with the story? Probably not, but here's a quick run down. Fourteen year old Mattie Ross arrives in town to claim the body of her father who has been gunned down by a notorious outlaw. Local law enforcement seems ineffectual and the culprit (Brolin) has set off into Indian territory to parlay with another band of renegades (led by Pepper). With dogged persistence, Mattie strikes up some financing and hires Deputy Marshal Rooster Cogburn (Bridges) to track the man down for her. Seems like she's got a little vigilante justice on her mind! But a Texas Ranger (Damon) is also in pursuit and the three form a tenuous, and ever shifting, relationship as they track their prey.

To me, the book's greatest asset has to be Mattie Ross--an undeniably unique narrative voice. While the Wayne version features a plucky Kim Darby in the role, the film is largely a vehicle to showcase The Duke. Rooster Cogburn was to become his late career iconic role and the film won him an Oscar. Bridges does well with the cantankerous Cogburn, but the Coens have delivered the film back into the hands of the delightful Mattie Ross. As portrayed by the strong and stoic Hailee Steinfeld, who has deadpan earnestness down to perfection, she is front and central where she belongs. Steinfeld has been receiving some justified accolades as one of this year's finest supporting actresses--but, make no mistake, this is the lead role in every conceivable way. Her interplay with Bridges is a true delight and her relationship with Damon brings surprising depth.

All the performances are solid, I especially liked Brolin's small but pivotal role as the catalyst for the entire expedition. The film looks and sounds great. The screenplay is tight and amusing. If anything, the ending seems a bit rushed--it's boom and we're out of here with a flash forward that doesn't really feel cohesive to the rest of the picture. But I had a lot of fun with "True Grit" and think Steinfeld is one to watch. It may not stand as one of the Coens' idiosyncratic masterpieces (to my mind, anyway), but it is certainly a successful and appealing film on every level. KGHarris, 12/10.
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142 of 166 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2011
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
...much the same as Rooster.

Fortunate for me, the last time I saw the original I was just a small lads and therefore felt no guilt for insufficient reverence or fidelity to The Duke. My thought going in was that it would be a good time to revisit the original version. Half way through Bridges and Steinfeld were creating such compelling characters that reading the book came to mind. By the end of it however both notions dropped away. Not now; much too soon. The zen of True Grit 2010 is aging nicely and unblended in the oak-charred-whiskey-barrel of my psyche.

This is 5 stars if ever there was one. I am admittedly a Coen-head but the juxtaposition the Coens, setting, music, and a cast of superb players creating truly unforgettable characters make this the best movie of its kind I have ever seen. I am reluctant to declare it THE best movie I have ever seen in my life but in five weeks watching it every Saturday night I can recall none to surpass it. This is where the guilt kicks in because repeat short-span movie watching is a personal taboo; I could not help myself on this one. My standing applause to all involved with this film, especially Bridges, Steinfeld, Daymon as well the fabulous complimentary cast, Mathews and Pepper especially stick out.

It is a powerful interpretation of the time and place appropriately ratcheted up for entertainment value and masterfully done. The characters range from audacious, colorful, and subtle; but all are authentic. I think there are some Faulkner-esk touches to the story. I plan to make a study of the book after the emotional attachment to the Coen version fades to a manageable degree.

Of the few knits that I have seen picked from professional critics two of them are;
Mattie was too modern and `you are not the boss of me'. I found her temperament to be commensurate with her apparent education (e.g. writ of replevin) and her objective. The event that triggered her mission would plausibly fortify an extra measure of pugnacity and independence. I saw no deviation in any of her character qualities taken collectively.

The other criticism was that the outdoor panoramas seemed washed out. I thought they fit the season; slanted and diffused winter light. That was consistent with the winter light coming in the window at Cogburn's testimony.

I ditto these insightful contributions already well articulated by other reviewers with which I fully concur;

"...the most emotionally engaging movie they've ever made, including Fargo." [the movie left me with my chest laid open as if by a scatter gun]

"...What elevates this movie from the original is the closer following of the source material: Charles Portis' novel. It isn't perfect, but the Coens portray a much darker, grittier time and circumstances." [and often times a more tragic world; I think the dirty coats, muddy boots, greasy hair, rotten teeth, and dialogue without contractions were excellent cinematic enhancements.]

"...Jeff Bridges is NOT John Wayne, and, that being said, makes a much better Rooster than John. John was restricted by what he could do as an actor acting in the time the film was made. Jeff is not under such restrictions...." [clear cut best actor of the year imo]

"...Hailie Steinfeld.... She handles the old-fashioned language well, does not suffer at all from misguided efforts to be cute or charming, and never seems like a modern kid playing dress-up, a fault I frequently find with child actors in period films." "...astonishing in her confidence and command at 13 years old of a starring role with a lot of difficult dialogue and plenty of nuance in the complexity of her character." [at one point I marveled at the authenticity of the facial expression she produced when Mattie took an insult; she will capture your heart like Dorothy in WOZ but for totally different reasons]

"...Carter Burwell's music in `True Grit' just every bit as perfectly fit the characters, the events, and the surroundings and atmosphere in this film as it did in the sweeping hit `The Alamo'" [piercing and almost haunting in its contribution] - this movie has been a treasure to me!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format: Amazon Instant Video
In my world, the arrival of any film by the estimable Coen brothers is a welcome sight. But I must admit, I was a little surprised when I heard they were taking on a new version of "True Grit." In a sly way, however, it made sense. I have always felt that the 1969 John Wayne film version underserved the subversively comic masterwork by Charles Portis. I thought that perhaps the Coens were, thus, the ideal pair to bring the cynicism, eccentricity and subtle humor of this fine novel (and underrated American classic) to the big screen. The Coens assembled a big-name cast including Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Barry Pepper and Josh Brolin for this incarnation that manages to be true to both the source novel and the previous film--but isn't really a definitive new vision. However, that said, this "True Grit" is a solidly constructed and very entertaining western that has a lot to recommend it.

Unfamiliar with the story? Probably not, but here's a quick run down. Fourteen year old Mattie Ross arrives in town to claim the body of her father who has been gunned down by a notorious outlaw. Local law enforcement seems ineffectual and the culprit (Brolin) has set off into Indian territory to parlay with another band of renegades (led by Pepper). With dogged persistence, Mattie strikes up some financing and hires Deputy Marshal Rooster Cogburn (Bridges) to track the man down for her. Seems like she's got a little vigilante justice on her mind! But a Texas Ranger (Damon) is also in pursuit and the three form a tenuous, and ever shifting, relationship as they track their prey.

To me, the book's greatest asset has to be Mattie Ross--an undeniably unique narrative voice. While the Wayne version features a plucky Kim Darby in the role, the film is largely a vehicle to showcase The Duke. Rooster Cogburn was to become his late career iconic role and the film won him an Oscar. Bridges does well with the cantankerous Cogburn, but the Coens have delivered the film back into the hands of the delightful Mattie Ross. As portrayed by the strong and stoic Hailee Steinfeld, who has deadpan earnestness down to perfection, she is front and central where she belongs. Steinfeld has been receiving some justified accolades as one of this year's finest supporting actresses--but, make no mistake, this is the lead role in every conceivable way. Her interplay with Bridges is a true delight and her relationship with Damon brings surprising depth.

All the performances are solid, I especially liked Brolin's small but pivotal role as the catalyst for the entire expedition. The film looks and sounds great. The screenplay is tight and amusing. If anything, the ending seems a bit rushed--it's boom and we're out of here with a flash forward that doesn't really feel cohesive to the rest of the picture. But I had a lot of fun with "True Grit" and think Steinfeld is one to watch. It may not stand as one of the Coens' idiosyncratic masterpieces (to my mind, anyway), but it is certainly a successful and appealing film on every level. KGHarris, 12/10.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
Before I get into the meat of my review let me say that the Western is my favorite genre of film. I own the blu-ray of both the original John Wayne version of True Grit and this version. People who say the original is "better," in my opinion, just have "good old days" syndrome. There is nothing about the old one that is superior.

Let's start with the story line. The Coen brothers much more accurately capture the depth and genius of Charles Portis' novel. The small details and nuances make this film's adaptation of the novel much more rich and rewarding. The boarding house lady (and her boarding house), Yarnell Poindexter (and his interactions with Mattie), the undertaker, the hanging, the sheriff, the stable boy, and more are all examples of this film creating a much more 3 dimensional and accurate story.

Next, this movie is one of the most beautifully shot films you will have seen. Roger Deakins' cinematography is brilliant. Look at the courtroom scene as just one example. Where the 1960's film is very "Hollywood does the old west" with everything looking like a set from Bonanza, this film looks absolutely authentic. They recreated Fort Smith to a T and the scenes during pursuit of Tom Chaney actually look like Arkansas rather than Colorado and California.

Third, the dialog is absolutely superior. Keeping faith with the Portis novel, and in typical Coen brothers fashion, the dialog is terrific and VERY accurate to the period. People don't realize that even the "uneducated" in the 1800's spoke with a vocabulary and formal sentence structure that today's college graduates would find challenging.

Last, the actors. This is where people have their sacred cows. No objective observer can honestly say that John Wayne's Rooster Cogburn was better than Jeff Bridges. John Wayne wasn't a gruff, drunk, hardened ex-con turned lawman. He was John Wayne with an eye-patch. I love John Wayne, but in terms of an actor portraying a Character, Jeff Bridges absolutely nails the character. He's an uncouth, unshaven, unbathed, smarmy, drunkard who happens to be a heck of a lawman and someone who truly does have uncommon "grit." Likewise, Hailee Steinfeld is a much more realistic Mattie Ross from her hairstyle to her dress to acting to her age.

I don't have the time to describe all the ingredients that make this a superior film. The more times I watch it, the better it becomes because I keep noticing even more attention to detail and quality in storytelling and filmmaking.

If you like westerns, this is a must have!
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 9, 2011
Format: DVD
True Grit is an excellent film. This movie reminds of how entertaining westerns can be. It is about a young girl's deternination for justice after her father is shot and killed by a man named Tom Chaney. The film stars new comer Haliey Steinfield as Mattie Ross and Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn. My favorite quote from the movie is when Mattie says to Rooster that she is looking for someone with true grit in helping her track her father's killer and avenge his death. True Grit is a phrase that describes Mattie's character in the movie. She is a determined young woman blessed with intelligence and courage. Hailey Steinfield's performance is the best I have seen from any actress this past year. The relationship between Rooster and Mattie evolve in the movie.

Mattie and Rooster are accompanied on this journey by a man named LeBeouf. He is a ranger and is played by Matt Damon. There is one particularly exciting scene where LeBeouf rescues Mattie's life in the face of danger by Tom Chaney. Steinfield has chemistry with her co stars and that is what makes the movie work for me.

The music from the movie is composed by Carter Burwell. There is a beautiful song at the end of the movie entitled Leaning On The Every Lasting Arms. This song is performed by a singer named Iris DeMent. Her voice is very moving. There is instrumental music featured in the movie derived from this tune. Burwell does a great job scoring the film. There is a scene in the movie where Mattie is stuck in a snake pit. Burwell's music in that scene makes me feel a sense of dread at the appropriate time.

The film is set in Texas with some parts in New Mexico. The Coen brothers bring out the beauty of these places in the movie. I would love to ride a horse and see this beauty in person if I could. True Grit is definitely one of the best movies of 2010.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 26, 2010
Format: Blu-ray
14-year-old Mattie Ross has come to Ft. Smith Arkansas sometime during the "old west" to hire a US Marshall to track and bring to justice the man who shot and killed her father. She hires the man she's been told has true grit, Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn, a one-eyed drunk with a ferocious reputation. They set out for the Indian Territories, accompanied, to their chagrin, by the dandified Texas Ranger LeBoeuf. Along the way, they encounter some strange characters and engage in dangerous and bloody adventures.

This, in a tiny nutshell, is the story of TRUE GRIT, the Coen Brothers take on the famous novel (rather than a remake of the John Wayne original). It's a fairly simple story, and to be honest, much of it is predictable. Will the irascible drunk shake himself out of his stupor long enough to take on the job? Will his initial dislike of the young, smart-mouth Mattie turn to respect and affection? Will the three reluctant companions find grudging value in each other? Will there be blood?

In many ways, the Coens have made their most commercially accessible dramatic movie. While it is full of their usual quirkiness, it all lends itself to add mood and authenticity (for example, the rococo and florid language everyone uses would on paper seem hard to believe, no doubt. But it adds to the feeling of time and place in remarkable ways). You don't need to grasp around for meaning (as in the mundane ending of FARGO or the abrupt conclusion to NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN). TRUE GRIT is a period piece with authentic looking sets, costumes and locations (much of it filmed in New Mexico, as was NO COUNTRY). It is full of bloodshed, in the usual blunt, brutal, graphic style of the Coens (when someone is killed in a Coen brothers movie, there is never anything satisfying about it...we feel the life going out of the person, along with their aspirations, loves and longings). It is also full of many funny moments, primarily in the extremely tart and intelligent dialogue. It's one of the loveliest sounding films of the many years.

One of the earliest Coen Brothers movies was MILLER'S CROSSING. It could have been a commercial movie, except at the time, period pieces about gangsters were not much in vogue. The dialogue was nearly as fancy as in TRUE GRIT. There was plenty of violence (including a stunning shootout with Albert Finney). But it starred Gabriel Byrne and Marcia Gay Harden. Fine actors...but not movie stars.

In TRUE GRIT, the Coens have turned again to Jeff Bridges (from their cult comedy THE BIG LEBOWSKI). Bridges is enjoying a popular renaissance right now, and just looking at a photo of him as Cogburn tells you he's going to give an iconic performance. So the part is perfect for Bridges, and the times are perfect for the public to flock to see him. His Cogburn is certainly Oscar-worthy (as was Wayne's performance, which won the award). He looks great...both terrifying and a little silly. But in young Hailee Steinfield, who plays Mattie, he has found a perfect foil. Steinfield gives an amazing and riveting performance. This young lady has so much poise, so much intelligence and so much fire that she and her character light up the screen and nearly steal all their scenes. Steinfield makes Mattie entirely a girl of her time. She goes into the wild and sees and endures horrible things, yet never complains...in part because she's got grit of her own, but also because in the time of the movie, kids already understood that life could be short, painful and unattractive...and that death could be too. We do occasionally see Mattie scared, but mostly we see her innate acceptance. It's a fabulous performance and Bridges seems delighted to have such a great co-star to spar with. The two develop their bond so easily, we hardly notice it happening. Matt Damon, whose part is smaller, is something of comic relief...but he has his own reserves of fire and when the three are together, he does not detract but rather enhances the film. I wouldn't say his performance is on the same level as the other two, but he's very fine indeed, and it's nice to see him join his buddies George Clooney and Brad Pitt as a Coen Brothers actor. I suspect it won't be his last time.

TRUE GRIT, at least as presented here, is a study of the high price of retribution. The idea of simply chasing a killer down and bringing him to deadly justice seems straightforward. But what I suspect drew the Coen's to the material is the high price that is paid, both physically and spiritually, for this "simple" justice. Grit is earned at a fairly high price.

TRUE GRIT is hugely satisfying and entertaining. The ending is a little threadbare (I believe that comes from the source material)...but otherwise, it is a thing of harsh beauty. The camerawork and editing are impeccable. The costumes are appropriately dirty, and reflect the hygiene of the day. All the supporting cast (notably Barry Pepper) are excellent. And the Coen Brothers aesthetic has been stretched (but not broken) in pleasing ways. Because the film is so accessible, one might assume going in that the Coen's have "sold out." Nothing could be further from the truth...the film has their distinctive hallmarks all over it, and this only makes the film better. I saw the film on Christmas Day (in a sold-out theater). It's not exactly upbeat holiday fare. But if seeing great films puts you in a cheery mood, then TRUE GRIT leave you feeling very fine indeed.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
This is not going to compare and contrast the two movies. I know people stand on each side of that, and I do not want that element in my review because it is showing partiality between two good movies. Thanks.

A 14-year-old girl finds her father murdered by a man he trusted. After claiming the body for 60 dollars, she steps up and determines that she has to become the insturment of justice or her father will have none. In doing so, she teams up with a marshall, a ranger, and sets out into the unknown.

When True Grit came out, I had high hopes for it. The directors clout alone says that this should eb a grea tmovie, and I really was not disappointed. The one thing I was surprised by was the fact that I laughed quite a bit while watching it, and I found myself not being bored. It had great narration, great dialog, and great acting moving that one thing forward. If it had not been that way, I wonder what would have been - thankfully I did not have to ponder that in the really real.

The acting in this movie shines, and it makes you really think about how good some of these people can be. Jeff Bridges was the standout amongst everyone, with his portrayal of a man that had grown drunk and cocky and fatter with time, but was still full of fire and grit. The same can be said of the girl that hires him, with her not only presenting a formitable front but also doing great narration. Matt Damon was good but he seemed a little stale in some places, but even that worked in favor of the man standing in that Ranger's badge.

The plot itself was easy to follow, but some things happen that you might not expect. I enjoyed that, too, and I liked the fact that the ending was not predictable. Like many Coen movies, I thought I might know the ending but I wasn't sure. I did think one thing, however, and that was that there was a link in the types of endings they had been presenting. Perhaps that says something on them or their views or just what they like. Whatever it is, I find I like it as well.

The effects are nice, too, and it has some violent portions. It really does not have to have these and does not rely on them, sticking to dialogue more than anything. this earns it an easy 4.0/5 stars in my book, and is easily worth watching. I could say a lot more but fear giving something away and will stick with this and my recommendation.

Thank you
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 18, 2011
Format: DVD
Chalk me up as one who was puzzled at the idea of Joel and Ethan Coen "stooping" to do a remake of another movie - especially a semi-classic John Wayne Western. A remake is already pedestrian - if they had remade something edgy like Orson Welles' "Touch of Evil" or Hitchcock's "Notorious," I might not have been surprised, but a John Wayne film (other than perhaps "The Searchers")? What is going on here?

I shouldn't have doubted these guys, who have added another gem to their filmography. "True Grit," it has been said, is less a remake than a reimagining, and I think that is fair. This movie is both darker and more spiritual than the John Wayne version. An opening shot of snow gently falling on a dead body lying in the street sets an elegiac tone that is maintained throughout - thanks in large part to the masterful score by Carter Burwell. The movie both pays homage to the dangerous world of the Old West and, like "Unforgiven," reminds us that many of the heroes of our history were nasty cusses just like the villains.

Hallie Steinfeld nearly steals the movie from everyone else with her performance as Mattie Ross, a fourteen year old girl who travels to the frontier to avenge her father's murder and put his affairs to right. This is the most unnervingly perfect performance by a young lady since Natalie Portman's turn in "Beautiful Girls." Mattie Ross may be fourteen, but she is often the smartest person in the room and always the most determined. This is a gal who can stand up to murderers and thieves.

It's good that she can, because that's who she runs into. Even the good guys - Marshall Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) and Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Matt Damon) - are not above lying or thrashing a child when it suits them. Bridges and Damon make a good pair - Bridges plays Cogburn as a perpetually half-buzzed killer who's only on the side of the law because it pays regular, and Damon's LaBoeuf is only a Texas Ranger because it allows him to say he's a Texas Ranger. Both men can kill and kill well.

The rest of the cast, including Josh Brolin as the murderous Tom Chaney and Barry Pepper as the ill-fated Lucky Ned Pepper, does fine work in their supporting roles. Pepper in particular seems born to play a Western villain - he dirties up good. It's only the limited screen time that keeps these guys in their roles as supporting players.

There's a lot of discussion these days about the Coen Brothers' filmography and where various movies rank on that list. For what it's worth, my personal favorite is "Miller's Crossing." But all those lists are ultimately irrelevant as the Coens consistently make first rate movies - it's fun to see that, with the exception of "The Ladykillers," pretty much every one of their movies is somebody's "favorite Coen Brothers' film." "True Grit" deserves to be at the top of several of those lists.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
True Grit is a true hit!

The Cohen Brothers mark this film with their personal and unique trademark making it so much more than a remake. At first I wondered why anyone would want to re-make 'True Grit', a classic movie remembered well by fans old enough to have seen the original at its release and discovered later by younger fans who value a great film. But this 'True Grit' turned out to be so much more than the original. I was blown away by this film and am so glad I overcame my initial hesitancy about seeing it.

Jeff Bridges gives another Oscar-worthy, astonishingly dead-on character-driven, picture-perfect performance as Rooster Cogburn. It is hard to know exactly how Bridges could be so perfectly `Bad Blake' and also so perfectly `Rooster Cogburn' when those two characters were so very different. Well, okay, maybe they had the hankering for booze in common, but otherwise, these two spot-on portrayals are just a beautiful testament to Jeff Bridges' transformation over the years from a perfectly solid performer to an absolutely amazing actor.

Matt Damon shows another side to his acting abilities as well, in a pretty darn acceptable performance as Texas Ranger, La Boeuf, even if his performance was a bit subdued in this otherwise larger-than-life-character populated film.

Rounding out the top cast members, if Jeff Bridges should be considered for an Oscar nomination this year, and be assured - he should, so too should young actress, Hailee Steinfeld, whom I admit to not having seen previously, but after her performance as 14-year-old Mattie, I don't think many movie attendees will be able to claim non-acquaintance with Ms. Steinfeld much longer.

Carter Burwell's music in `True Grit' just every bit as perfectly fit the characters, the events, and the surroundings and atmosphere in this film as it did in the sweeping hit `The Alamo', albeit, without the soulful fiddle solo Davey Crockett delivered in the huge tale of Texas. Burwell's movie music is always perfection in every way.

Female vocalist, Iris DeMent, who joined John Prine in a somewhat `blue', but oh-so-enjoyable, giggle-producing duet at the end of Billy Bob Thornton's great familial tale `Daddy and Them', sings a solo as the closing song of `True Grit'. Iris delivers a beautiful, heart-felt rendition of `Leaning on The Everlasting Arms', which was also instrumentally featured throughout the film. I have not heard such a moving vocal rendition of `Leaning.....' since it was so hauntingly performed a capella by Robert Mitchum in `The Night of the Hunter' back in 1955 when it made my childish blood run cold, and it still does every time I re-watch the DVD.

`True Grit' contains some of the most beautiful scenes I have seen in a western film in a great long time, all due to the masterful talent of Roger Deakins. These scenes are not just the usual sprawling expanses of mountains, trees, and rivers routinely seen in films that are shot in the west or in the southern part of the U.S. (most of `True Grit' was shot in Texas). The familiar panoramas are certainly present in `True Grit' and they are pleasingly presented; but the viewer is also treated to several astoundingly beautiful artful creations including some absolutely gorgeous moonlit scenes and glorious, visually pleasing star-filled skies, as well as some stunning snowfall episodes. I want to add, these are not exactly smooth, rich and lush visual offerings, they are created with just enough `roughness' to fit perfectly within the genre and atmosphere of the film and still take your breath away.

One other thing I want to mention is the wonderful to-die-for dialogue. I understand a great deal of this was lifted directly from the novel and was also in the original film, which I saw at the time of its first release. However, I admit to not only not recalling the intricacy of the dialogue, but also not recollecting the unique dialect used in this version, nor being so entertained by the richness of the prose, or sufficiently in awe that the actors could actually remember so much priceless verbage and deliver it with such pitch-perfect ease. The conversations, by each of the cast members, down to the smallest part, are alone worth the price of the film.

I have not mentioned anything about the plot, not wanting to include any spoilers. The novel and original film were sufficiently far enough in the past (1968 for the novel and 1969 for the film) I am certain there are many movie fans reading this review-of-sorts are not at all familiar with either version, having never read the novel nor viewed John Wayne, Glen Campbell, Kim Darby, or Robert Duvall, in the original movie offering.

I want to recommend this latest version of `True Grit' as a true future classic, but also as a very enjoyable and entertaining film, one best viewed, at least initially, on a theater screen, preferably the widest one a fan can find today. We have all been reading a lot lately about at the questionable caliber of adult movies being made today. This is one great film that will surely satisfy a fan's desire for a `real, authentic, fine, fine movie'; it certainly did mine. I have enough family, friends, and acquaintances who have seen this film that they include a certain percentage who do not necessarily agree with my assessment, but their biggest failing seems to be in not recognizing that this is a Cohen Brother's film and not your parent's 'True Grit' and also it is so much more than your usual western.
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