Sunday, January 02, 2011

Movie Review: True Grit

I was prepared to hate it. Could they really, really do any better than an overweight, one-eyed John Wayne, reins in his teeth and a six-gun in each mitt,* growling, "Fill yer hand, you sonovab!tch!" It seemed unlikely.

I was wrong. The big-name actors dissolve into their characters in a manner seldom seen and the actress who plays Mattie does the same. Even in the 1969 film, the very strong story (from the Charles Portis novel) overshadowed the actors; the Coen Brothers production revels in it (and perhaps they should, given what passes for a plot in many recent films).

More penny dreadful than character study -- but a marvelous penny dreadful! -- True Grit is a well-produced, satisfying film, right down to the iconic scene.

It's a treat for a gunnie, too: remembering the original film (he must've had Dardicks) , I was counting Rooster Cogburn's shots. Two six-guns -- and, yep, ten shots.

Worth seeing in the theatre; sets and scenery, photography and attention to detail help make the film a gem.
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* Except he didn't. Commenter Tony Muhlenkamp correctly pointed out that The Duke had a revolver in one hand and a repeating rifle in the other. So now I have to hunt up the clip and count his shots.

12 comments:

Ed Skinner said...

We were particularly pleased with the language, a bit archaic but therefore lending a lot to the authenticity. Mattie's dealings with the horse trader, in particular, are well worth a second viewing.
And yes, for gunnies the hardware is a very nice, very accurate, bonus.

Tango Juliet said...

Very enjoyable film. Jeff Bridges was marvelous IMHO.

When he was on top of the hill and fired the signal shot, it seemed though, that the sound of the report arrived awfully quick given the apparent distance.

cybrus said...

Jeff Bridges really did "dissolve" into his character. And I almost missed the tiny Lebowski shout-out!

Overall a very good movie indeed!

Roberta X said...

...Any film in which the term "writ of replenish" shows up in dialogue gets my attention. ;)

Ed Rasimus said...

Ditto! Was prepared to hate it and absolutely loved it! The language was a huge part of it. Mattie dealing with the horse trader may be the classic scene of the movie. Bridges is in line for another Oscar.

og said...

I have high hopes for the movie, based on this reccomendation. I have been prepared to hate it- "MATT DAMON!" but I will look forward to seeing it.

LabRat said...

I loathe Matt Damon with the fire of a thousand suns but he was so successfully sublimated into the La Beouf role he didn't bother me at all.

I only read the Portis novel (it was on my summer reading list, lively fiction for a twelve year old girl), and I adored this movie.

"....Are we trading again?!"

Panda said...

I recall reading of the Dardick "automatic revolver" in a science fiction story long ago, but until now didn't realize that it was for real.

Joseph said...

There is one showing sold in Feb. 2009 for $1799...so there is at least a few of these out there.

falnfenix said...

we saw this today, and ... well, i thoroughly enjoyed it. i grew up on old cowboy flicks, and i know i've seen the original production at least a few times, so this was a real treat.

it was also nice to see Bridges play a character that wasn't just another version of himself...and Matt Damon shocked me. i didn't realize it was actually him 'till i heard him speak.

i think this is one worth buying.

Tony Muhlenkamp said...

I think John Wayne had a rifle in one hand and a revolver in the other during the shootout/showdown with the Ned Pepper Gang. Bridges had two revolvers. Can't remember how it was in the novel.

"I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man!"

Love both versions, and the novel.

Roberta X said...

You are correct, sir! --Just checked. I'll post that.