Some reviews will focus on comparisons with the original True Grit, some will even look back at the novel both draw their plot from. A third type of review won’t mention either, having not read or watched the preceding incarnations. Guess which of the three this review is.
Taking True Grit as a standalone feature without any remake rumblings or Coen brothers expectations, it is a good film. Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges make the most of their character actor chops to bring two truly western roles to gloriously, over the top, fruition. The only possible downside being the thick accents occasionally get almost too thick to understand.
By now you’ll know that the show is stolen completely by relative newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, who is clearly the lead despite what any Oscar nominations might suggest. Speaking of the Oscars; her pitch perfect and incredibly grown up performance as the young upstart looking to avenge her father’s murder is easily worth a golden statue next weekend. There’s humour and heart aplenty in young Steinfeld’s performance.
As a whole the film is fun, beautiful and feels surprisingly short for it’s 110 minutes. There’s no big twist, just a story told well by skilled writers, directors and performers. Towards the end some jarringly cheap looking shots slightly marr the emotional climax, completely out of place in an otherwise carefully shot picture.
As Coen brothers films go this is far from the best. Everything in it is good but the whole feels slightly lacking. I can’t say what it is lacking, I just know that as the credits appeared I felt True Grit needed something more to take it from good to great. You still are required to go and see it in the cinema and Hailee Steinfeld is still going to be a star one day, but No Country For Old Men was better.