“True Grit” – The Coen Bros. Craft a Classic Western

True Grit (Paramount) on DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack (with DVD and Digital Copy)

The Coen Brothers insisted that their “True Grit” was not a remake of the 1969 film that earned John Wayne his Academy Award but a faithful adaptation of the Charles Portis novel. Whether or not it’s true that they had not seen the Henry Hathaway film since they were kids, it is interesting to see how close both hew to the story and the dialogue of the Portis novel, and how the difference in the details makes the Coens’ film uniquely their vision, and the most accessible and successful (financially speaking) film of their career.

Jeff  Bridges practically croaks his lines as Rooster Cogburn, a veteran manhunter, unapologetic killer and well-practiced drunk, yet for all his leathery character and wry humor of his performance, newcomer Hailee Steinfeld holds her own as the driven young Mattie Ross, a slip of a girl who armors up in the clothes of her dead father and sets out for revenge against the man who murdered him. And next to the lush mountain landscapes and daylight beauty of Hathaway’s 1969 film, the Coens offer a tougher, more scraggly frontier, often shrouded in fog and darkness.

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Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website (www.streamondemandathome.com). I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View (www.parallax-view.org).. I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly, GreenCine.com, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View. I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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