You’ll notice that I included an extra poster for this movie, because the poster is so goddamned awesome. It was printed by Aaron Horkey, and I remember when it went on sale that I wanted to buy it without having even seen the movie. Unfortunately the three digit price tag got in the way of actually purchasing it. Make sure you click on it to get a bigger, better look at the awesomeness. In general, I’m not a big fan of westerns, so I didn’t have too high of hopes for this movie. Even classics like Unforgiven and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly are films I’ve attempted to get interested in, but didn’t do much for me. Granted, I’ve only seen those films once, and want to try them again, which I think makes me in the minority. The trailer for True Grit was one of the best trailers of last year, which is one reason why I was excited, and come on, the Coen brothers directing a western with Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and Josh Brolin? How could this NOT be awesome?! I might not have seen it, but I felt sympathy for JD when his family left him.
Cowboys and Indians! Wait, Jeff Bridges is from India, isn’t he?
Josh Brolin plays an outlaw who robs a man and kills him, and that man’s 14 year old daughter, played by Hailee Steinfeld, knows that he is responsible and wants to see him brought to justice. Whether this means he is taken in dead or alive, as long as he pays for the death of her father, that’s all that matters. She pays U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn, played by Jeff Bridges, to take him in. Rooster is an alcoholic who is quick to shoot his bounty, but is one of the best there is. A Texas Ranger is also in town, played by Matt Damon, who has been in pursuit of Josh Brolin’s character for months, and offers his services to help track the outlaw. The three of them take out after the outlaw, and go through a few shootouts, campouts, and verbal disagreements, but finally catch up to him. As a last resort, it ends up being the 14 year old girl who shoots and kills the outlaw, and then all three characters go their seperate ways. After everything they’ve been through, we see at the end of the movie that none of the characters made any attempt to keep in contact, except that the girl, now a grown woman, makes sure that Cogburn is buried in her family’s plot.
No smarmy comment here, just wanted to include this shot because it was my favorite shot in the whole movie.
Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld, and Josh Brolin were all great in this movie. Not just their portrayal of the characters, but the fact that they were able to manage to stay in character while spitting out the intricate dialogue worked up by the Coen brothers was pretty incredible. One highlight being the fact that there was little, possibly no cursing whatsoever. I think it’s pretty cool when a western movie will do this, because most sources will say that what we find to be curse words now, weren’t considered curse words then. There was language that was used that could be considered “foul”, but the R rating couldn’t have been based on the language. The directing, editing, acting, script, all awesome. The reason why I can’t give this movie the best possible rating ties into why I don’t like westerns. In general, westerns always seem to romanticize that period in time. It seems awesome to ride your horse from town to town, camp out, shoot people, get drunk, party, all that good stuff. It seems like the reality of the situation is, at least from historical records, that the late 1800’s and early 1900’s were kind of fucking awful. It seemed like a bleak, depressing time to be alive, but this movie, like so many others, made it seem like it would be enjoyable. All that being said, I’d say any fan of westerns, the Coen brothers, or Jeff Bridges should check this movie out.
Wolfman Moon Scale