?This remake of the 1969 classic is somewhat uncharacteristic of the Coen Brothers in that it is a relatively straightforward work when compared to their traditional visual fare.
?The result of their efforts on True Grit is a well-crafted traditional Western — sans the trademark nihilism present within their other films including No Country For Old Men. This might disappoint some hardcore Coen fans, but the style and tone adopted for True Grit has certainly widened potential audience appeal.
The lead role of “Rooster” in the 1969 original was played by — of course — John Wayne, and this time around Jeff Bridges steps into Wayne’s lofty boots. Many critics contend that Bridges’ performance outshines that of Wayne’s, and that the current remake depicts a far more vivid story. The True Grit story takes place in the rugged West of the 1870’s, and it tells the tale of little Mattie Ross (played by Hailee Steinfeld) who convinces Rooster to track down her father’s killer. This quest leads Rooster — accompanied by a Texas Ranger (well played by Matt Damon) — deep into Indian Country.
The film’s cinematographer, Roger Deakins, creates dream-like landscapes within the finest Western traditions, and supporting cast including Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper add to the strong performances rendered by Bridges and Damon. Don’t worry; you won’t have to tolerate hearing Damon singing — as Glen Campbell did when playing this part in the 1969 original. Thinky rates True Grit as a must see which is sure not to disappoint — whether or not you typically like Westerns.