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True Grit is a powerful story of vengeance and valor set in an unforgiving and unpredictable frontier where justice is simple and mercy is rare. Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), is determined to avenge her father's blood by capturing Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), the man who shot and killed him for two pieces of gold. Just fourteen, she enlists the help of Rooster Cogburn (Academy Award® Winner Jeff Bridges), a one-eyed, trigger-happy U.S. Marshall with an affinity for drinking and hardened Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Academy Award® Winner Matt Damon) to track the fleeing Chaney. Despite their differences, their ruthless determination leads them on a perilous adventure that can only have one outcome: retribution.
A 14-year-old girl needs a man with "true grit" to help her bring in the fugitive who killed her father. That she settles on Rooster Cogburn--a one-eyed, booze-soaked, potbellied U.S. marshal on the downward curve of his career in law enforcement--is the glorious springboard for all versions of True Grit: the Charles Portis novel, the 1969 western that won an Oscar for John Wayne, and the 2010 Coen brothers adaptation. The Coens have some mighty shoes to fill in their version, and their choice for the eye-patch is Jeff Bridges, who growls his way through an understated take on Rooster. Matt Damon plays LaBoeuf, the Texas Ranger who joins the hunt; Josh Brolin is the scurvy killer; and Barry Pepper is the leader of the outlaw gang. Working as usual with cinematographer Roger Deakins, the Coens exhibit their clear, crisp view of western places, thrillingly creating new takes on recognizable vistas such as the frontier town, the snowy forest, and the isolated cabin at night. The Coens revel in the incredibly ornate dialogue, which allows their sardonic attitude to bleed into the material--young actress Hailee Steinfeld doesn't seem at all fazed by the language, which may be a key reason she got the job as heroine Mattie Ross. While True Grit doesn't have the heft of the best films in the Coens' arsenal (there's something very formal and even a wee bit academic about their stroll through this familiar text), they do create a pleasant sense of a good yarn, retold around the campfire for the umpteenth time. --Robert Horton
From Bustles to Buckskin - Dressing for the 1880s
Re-Creating Fort Smith
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I purchased the Blu-ray/DVD Combo with Digital Download, which these days almost always means it will include Ultraviolet rights redeemable at a store like Vudu or Flixter, and sometimes a choice of an iTunes or Windows Media download as well. True Grit is listed in the Ultraviolet database, so typically a Blu-ray of it that includes a digital version would mean you'll get a UV code. Not so with this version. If you opt to purchase it and want to add it to your UV library, plan to pay another $2 for disk to digital conversion on Vudu.
In Comanche County OK 2 days ride from Ft Smith. Although breathtakingly beautiful scenery far from accurate ... C. Brothers got this part correct.
Blu-ray arrived on time in great condition. No complaints at all.
Jeff Bridges plays this one to the hilt as a grizzled bounty hunter. First time I saw it I thought he overplayed it, now I see that he completely possesses the Rooster Cogburn character and does not exceed what it demands. A wonderful performance, thoroughly entertaining and deep.
This is a "road picture"; an unlikely trio of seekers, including a teenage girl on a mission to avenge her father's death, and upstart Texas Ranger Matt Damon, are all in pursuit of outlaw Josh Brolin for different reasons. The arcane language is brilliant, the dialogue is as if from an old novel, charming and seemingly authentic to the period. Haven't read the book but this version, presumably the language as well, is purported to be closer to the bone than the John Wayne version. The writers and the Coen Brothers have excelled in creating a vintage illusion and the clothing, sets, staging also contribute mightily to the gritty feel of the Old West. For a Western to be made in 2010 with instant classic written all over it is no small feat.
Bridges could have won the Oscar for it, he was nominated, but he had won the prior year for Crazy Heart. Still, Little Hailee Steinfeld emerges here as a talent to watch, she truly possesses True Grit. Great story, great performances, a movie movie up there with Hollywood's best.