Wednesday, 7 October 2015

True Grit (2010)

This is a fine adaptation of the Charles Portis novel and in my opinion a stronger film than John Wayne's 1969 effort in pretty much every department.  While I thought both Wayne and Kim Darby were good in the earlier picture, they are clearly surpassed by Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld respectively.  Matt Damon's also far better than his counterpart, but Glenn Campbell's performance was nothing special.

An aside: while I can (very reluctantly) accept that Steinfeld doesn't get her name on the DVD cover because the three men are much bigger stars, I take deep exception to her Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.  Her performance is certainly worthy of accolades, but this is no "Supporting" role.  She is a lead, and an excellent one.

I'm not going to go into details about the plot.  The premise is as outlined in my review of the John Wayne film - 14 year old Mattie Ross hires dissolute US Marshal "Rooster" Cogburn to help her hunt down the man who killed her father - and while the specific events that occur do differ, I don't think there is much value in itemising them all.  Instead, I just want to call out two main things.

The first is that this film stays much more focused on Mattie, giving her a more active role once they actually set out on the hunt.  I approve of this.

The second is that the tone of this version is rather more sombre and melancholy than that of the original.  That is in fact the qualification in my Qualified Recommendation: if you prefer your films to be pure escapism, this is probably not the picture for you.

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