I saw the new “True Grit” this afternoon. It’s a great movie, already done.
This new remake by the Coen Brothers of Charles Portis‘ novel by the same name is a wonderful western. The landscapes and scenery is beautiful and has a very authentic feel. Jeff Bridges as Marshall ‘Rooster’ Cogburn is delicious and satisfying. A portrayal that exceeds the portrayal by John Wayne, who won an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1970 for this role. Bridges is darker and filthier than the Wayne version.
But the performance of Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross stole the show. Steinfeld delivers on the sharp mind and determination of Mattie Ross and makes believable the idea that a 14 year old could be the one running her dead father’s farm. She is the focus of the movie, rightfully so, where Rooster was the focus of the 1969 version. I look forward to seeing more from Miss Steinfeld and am queueing up some of her past work.
There were two moments that bothered me and stuck with me after the movie ended.
The first is the continuity error that occurs following Mattie Ross’ swim across the river. Moments after exiting the water there is a camera angle change and a cold and drenched Miss Ross is dry. Considering how authentic the buildings, traps and accoutrements are presented throughout the movie, this error was a distraction for me. This may have been a comical homage to the original 1969 version which has the same continuity error. But why? I can’t understand why you would want to copy an error?
The second one is late in the movie. After a couple of days in the saddle, Mattie Ross goes to the river to get water. She carries a large wooden bucket. Where did that come from? They certainly didn’t travel with it and they are roughing it in the woods. Not an established camp.
Despite that, I enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to fans of westerns. But anyone who has seen the original movie more than a couple of times will find the new version very familiar. For me, it’s as great as the original and I am left with same old question I have for the entertainment industry. Of all the untold stories in the world, why does Hollywood insist upon remaking well told stories?