If someone would have told me I would be seeing a humor-filled, interesting, modern western in 2010, I would have never believed it. But this unreal idea became a reality in the remake of True Grit.
True Grit is the most recent film from the Coen brothers. It tells the story of a stubborn young girl in the Old West as she journeys to track down her father’s murderer. She enlists the help of the toughest US Marshall, but demands that she join the Marshall on this quest.
It cannot be denied that this film is a western. This includes the Old West setting, gun fights, horse riding, unique trading, and polite humor, but this film does not feel like the old time westerns you might be used to. It is modern, fast-paced, and very entertaining!
The most impressive aspect of this film was how modern the film felt. The increased technology and high quality of the film help make this film feel different from the first scene. It is the fast pace of the plot and dialogue help make this storyline feel more relatable to our culture of constant motion and multitasking. Taking all of the usual western elements and transforming them into a film that is relatable to today’s audiences is no easy feat, but it was achieved in this film.
After watching the film I was able to do some research about the original. Another remarkable aspect is the similarity between the dialogue of the original and the remake. Many of the classic lines from the original were used (and implemented well) in the remake. Today the sincerity and uniqueness of original films are often lost in remakes. It is amazing that the Coen brothers can take these age-old oneliners and alter them in a way that makes the lines humorous today also.
The casting for this film is phenomenal. Jeff Bridges proves himself as an acting heavy hitter yet again. He transforms himself into this role and makes every word of dialogue, gesture, and movement believable. I was skeptical of Matt Damon in his role as a half-witty, yet cocky, Texas Ranger, but he also appears to have morphed himself in to this character to make it fully believable. His performance/character is also very humorous. He is very clearly the less intellectual of the main characters, but he is immensely loveable. Josh Brolin comes in later in the film to accomplish a great performance as the Old West’s “villain”, but this is highly overshadowed by the excellent performances of the main characters. None of these compare to the performance of Hailee Steinfeld as the hard-headed, witty young Mattie Ross. She appears to be fairly new to acting focused mostly in film shorts and television movies. She perfectly portrays this young girl who will not back down to anyone she encounters.
Overall, this film was excellent. It takes the classic story of a western, keeps some of the age-old elements, but adds some modern twists to make it relatable and enjoyable to today’s audiences. While it does contain clear evidence of the Coen brothers’ brutality and wit at times, I think this film can be enjoyed by everyone (even those who have not enjoyed previous Coen films).