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True Grit

True Grit

By Patrick Samuel • February 10th, 2011
Static Mass Rating: 5/5
TRUE GRIT (CINEMA)
Paramount

Release date: February 11th 2011
Certificate(UK): 15
Running time: 110 minutes

Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Cast: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld, Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Marvel

It’s a hard job these days to reinvent a classic…any classic! Whether it’s a film or a book, it’s material which audiences are already familiar with and you can pretty much bet that before cameras start rolling there’s a crowd of protesters picketing outside the set or on the internet (or both) plotting its doom.

It then comes as a breath of fresh air to see the Coen Brothers adaptation of Charles Portis’ 1968 novel work so well. It’s feisty dialogue and sharp story is brought blissfully to life by a strong cast and tight direction which wastes no scene or second during its all-too-short 110 minutes. At the heart of it is young actress Hailee Steinfeld who dazzles as the spirited 14-year-old Mattie Ross delivering her lines with conviction, intelligence and more feeling than most actresses twice her age can muster.

True Grit

Mattie’s story begins when her father is shot and killed by Chaney (Josh Brolin), a man he was trying to help, for a couple of gold coins. Determined to bring him to justice, she hires Deputy U.S. Marshal Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to track him down so he can be charged and punished for his crime. Cogburn is worn out on whiskey but Mattie has been told that this is a man with true grit and that’s exactly what she needs if she stands a chance of seeing justice served.

Before setting off, they meet LaBoeuf (Matt Damon), a Texas Ranger whom Mattie takes an immediate disliking to. The feeling is mutual, but the unlikely trio keep crossing paths as they all have reasons for seeing Chaney hanged.

When the trail leads them into Indian territory, Mattie is unmoved by the danger ahead of them and keeps her eye on the objective, even when it will test them all to the core.

True Grit

Jeff Bridges has large shoes to fill in the role of Cogburn (played by John “The Duke” Wayne in the 1969 version, earning him an Academy Award). Bridges brings his own version of Cogburn to the role instead of emulating Wayne. Cogburn 2011 is meaner, drunker, funnier with a more twisted sense of humour.

Matt Damon is also a surprise in the role of LaBoeuf, shaking off Bourne, Mr. Ripley and just about anything else he’s done in his career so far to fully become the Texas Ranger who gets tongue tied along the way and even manages to give Mattie a good spanking over his knee.

All in all, you won’t see a better Western than True Grit, not this year, and certainly not in the past decade: memorable, heartfelt, action-packed and incredibly funny with dialogue that shoots almost as fast as the bullets fly. I think the directors managed to surprise even the sceptics and die-hard John Wayne fans – with the typically Coen-ish approach to story and characters.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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