Recenty I saw the movie True Grit. I wanted to see the movie for a very long time, since he was nominated for ten Oscars (amongst others Best motion picture, best performance by an actor in a leading role and best performance by an actress in a supporting role), yet won none. So when I started watching this movie, I had high expectations.
Now afterwards, those expectations have not been fulfilled. I thought I was going to see a western full of action with cowboys who take their barrel out of their holster more times than you and I can count. After two short gun scenes and a lot of dialogues, I was disappointed. Well, maybe my expectations where in the wrong direction. The Coen brothers are known for their seemingly "casual", but at the same time very intriguing storylines (e.g.: No country for old men, The big Lebowski). The story in True Grit however is very simple throughout the whole movie, so a little bit more action would have been welcome.
The movie tells the story of the fourteen-year-old girl Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) who wants to avenge her father’s death by going after his killer Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) and therefore she hires in the help of US Marshell Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) and texas ranger LeBoeuf (Matt Damon). The rest of the story tells about their quest and the tension between Rooster and LeBoeuf. In my opinion this story has been surpassed by the current movie era. In the sixties where westerns were the order of the day, this probably would have been a great movie, but I don’t think a remake was necessary. Not that westerns cannot be popular nowadays, but if I compare True Grit to 3:10 to Yuma, I give the latter a higher score, although he was only nominated for two minor Oscars.
With regard to the dialogues, my feeling is twofold. Some dialogues are very amusing and strongly written, yet some dialogues where nothing out of the ordinary, and it were at times like these, the film was starting to get me bored. What did put the movie to a higher level where the acting performances. Jeff bridges plays magnificent as the drunk, stubburn and arrogant Rooster Cogburn who rather kills then take villains to trial and who’s only goal initially is money. It’s a role that suits Jeff Bridges perfectly and he earned his 2011 oscar nomination for Best Performance as an Actor in a Leading Role (eventually went to Colin Firth for his role in the king’s speech). Also Hailee puts in an excellent performance as the cocky Mattie Ross who thinks she’s already an adult and who want s to be treated this way. Matt damon deserves an honorable mention as LeBoeuf. The characters in this movie are well developed and you see them evolve throughout the story. Rooster turns from a US Marshall who’s only goal in life is bounties and who is not a people person to a man who cares for others and reserves a special place in his heart for his companion Mattie Ross. Mattie Ross who wants to be cool and detached only driven by vengeance can ultimately not hide her age of fourteen and begins to feel a special attachment to Rooster. At first she sees him as someone brutal she hired, afterwards she sees him as her protector, and at some point she started to see a father figure in him. LeBoeuf who has his own agenda as a texas ranger and only joined them from a selfish point-of-view feels at he end the obligation the help his companions who he first left alone.
Final: True grit tells a simple story and this in combination with a lack of action, makes it a rather disappointing movie for me. The performances, on the contrary, are of a very high standard and the characters are well-developed. Because of this, it’s still a movie worth seeing.
IMDb: True Grit