Revenge is a Snake Pit

True Grit

true_grit_ver7

Joel and Ethan’s Coen rendition of True Grit is a classic Western with the cowboys unshaven, filled with whiskey swigging gun-slinging characters who all appeared to have been beaten by the harsh environment of Arkansas in the 1870s frontier towns.

True Grit is a revenge tale with pitfalls both figurative and literal and as the old Chinese saying goes, when seeking revenge, it’s always best to dig two graves. At the centre of this Western, is Mattee Ross a determined 14 year old girl who is beset on avenging the death of her father.

Hailee Steinfeld delivers a superb performance, rightfully getting an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Ross hires Rooster Cogburn, an unsavory US Marshal who drinks too much whiskey and is not very fond of personal hygiene. Cogburn in his rough and scraggly demeanor is brilliantly portrayed by Jeff Bridges. A third character who makes up the unlikely trio of adventurers is La Boeuf, a dandified Texas Ranger, played with panache and egotism by Matt Damon, who quite frankly looks like a fellow who takes pride in his appearance.
This darkly comic journey reminiscent of the Coen brothers earlier film Oh Brother Where Art Thou? is more richly textured with symbolism and myth, complimented by beautiful cinematography by Roger Deakins. With the occasional spats of violence which as always in Coen Brothers films are swift, untimely and always shocking are tapered down in comparison to their Oscar winning masterpiece No Country for Old Men, which was drenched in the suspense of inevitable violence and pervading menace.

A Gritty Game of Rancher and Outlaw

As Westerns goes, this is not 3:10 to Yuma, James Mangold 2007 action packed gun tottering film featuring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale as the cattle rancher and captured outlaw, but True Grit is closer to a period piece, shot in sepia colours complimented with stark black costumes and musing more on the legends of the Old West as opposed to the violence that characterized the era.

True Grit is more a homage to the film genre, a respectful and beautifully directed representation of a mythical error of the Wild Frontier, where the only real law of the land was each individual’s right to seek revenge where injustice had occurred, whatever the consequences. Nominated for 10 Oscars, unfortunately True Grit was beaten at the Academy Awards by the more technically brilliant film, Inception and the popular David Fincher film, The Social Network. In the acting stakes, Hailee Steinfeld is definitely a rising star, since receiving an Oscar nomination at age 15, a testament to her talent. Of all the Oscars True Grit should have won, it should have been for cinematography which was flawless.

Besides the accolades not heaped on the latest Coen Brothers film by this past Awards season, True Grit is nevertheless a terrific film about revenge, mortality and the myth of the Wild West. Watch out for a great cameo by Barry Pepper, all disheveled and wearing sheepskin chaps as the outlaw leader Lucky Ned Pepper.

Comments are closed.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
March 2011
M T W T F S S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  
  • China Unveils Golden Rooster Awards Nominees, to Surprising Jibes
    China has released the list of nominees for its upcoming Golden Rooster Awards, a set of government-approved film industry prizes that it wants to be seen as rivaling the Taipei-based Golden Horse Awards, historically considered as the “Chinese-language Oscars.” The winning Roosters will be announced amidst a film festival running Dec. 28-30 in the port […]
    Rebecca Davis
  • ‘Pen15’ to End With Season 2 on Hulu
    “Pen15,” Hulu’s comedy series created by Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, will end with its second season. The remaining episodes of the now final season will debut on the streamer on Dec. 3. A Hulu representative confirmed the news to Variety, stating that Erskine and Konkle “feel the story they wanted to tell has come to an […]
    J. Kim Murphy
  • Music Industry Moves: Berklee Establishes Al Schmitt Engineering Scholarship
    Berklee College of Music has established a scholarship named after Grammy Award-winning engineer Al Schmitt. The fund was created by the school’s Music Production and Engineering Department and seeded with a $50,000 gift from the endowment fund of former Berklee faculty member Wayne Wadhams, who played a key role in building the department, beginning in […]
    Shirley Halperin
  • Gotham Awards 2021 Winners List (Updating Live)
    The 31st annual Gotham Awards is a key stop in the awards season marathon, especially for lower-budget indies looking for some traction for the Oscars race. However, not every likely Oscar contender found itself up for Gothams, including “The Power of the Dog,” “Tick, Tick… Boom!” and “The Harder They Fall,” as they exceeded the […]
    katieesong
  • Muse Entertainment Hires Alex Jordan to Serve as Senior VP of Production
    Muse Entertainment Enterprises has tapped film and TV vet Alex Jordan to serve as its new senior VP of production. Jordan, who starts on January 1, will be based in Toronto and focus on producing programming for the international market. Jordan most recently served as a producer on Paramount Plus’ “Mayor of Kingstown.” He also […]
    varietyschneider
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90