by David Schuster
Finally got around to seeing probably the last big hit of the 2010 season in "True Grit" If you've been going to the theater at all during this calendar year you've been seeing trailers and promos for this movie for months. Paramount Pictures has invested a lot of time and money into making this a big hit and it will be interesting to see how it now plays out.
Certainly they spared no expense in getting a pair of top flight actors for the lead roles as Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon play Marshall "Rooster" Cogburn and Texas Ranger LaBoeuf. Both have won academy awards and they are joined by Josh Brolin who is also on a hot streak. But the main character in this movie is Mattie Ross and she is played by young Hailee Steinfeld and she honestly steals the scenes from her veteran fellow actors.
"True Grit" is a remake of the 1969 original when John Wayne, Glen Campbell and Kim Darby played the main parts. This movie however is slightly darker then the original and void of much humor. Mattie Ross's father is shot dead by Brolin's character and she is intent on getting revenge.
She ultimately employs Bridges (Cogburn) to hunt him down and Damon's character joins the small posse but he has his own agenda. Along the way there is some good old fashioned western violence but surprisingly not as much as I was led to believe by the trailers. This movie was written and directed by the Coen brothers (Joel and Ethan) so you know it was going to have some edge to it. Maybe not as much as some of their past great flicks like "Fargo" and "No Country For Old Men" but still some edge.
Bridges plays Cogburn as a tough S.O.B., but who also has a drunken side to him and his grunting accent took some getting used to. Damon's LeBoeuf is a definite upgrade over Campbell's portrayal who played him almost like one of his songs, "Like A Rhinestone Cowboy."
If you've seen the original you know how the movie plays out and the Coen's stick to that original script so there aren't any surprises. When I saw the original movie I never really concentrated on the title but after going to ball games all these years and hearing managers and GM's call their players gamers, I can now equate this movies title with those athletes. Gamers are players who display true grit. In other words doing anything to get the job done. That's what all the characters in this movie do. They get the job done no matter what is necessary.
I liked this version of "True Grit," though I can't say I loved it and I give it a triple - three stars.