Ethan and Joel Coen
Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld
The Odeon, Cineworld, The Vue
WHY, oh, why have the Coen brothers remade the 1969 classic True Grit starring possibly the most outstanding actor of his generation, John Wayne?
For starters they say it is not a remake. Instead, it is an adaptation of Charles Portis's 1968 novel of the same name. The Coen brothers film follows Portis's plot closely and depicts Mattie Ross's (Hailee Steinfeld) vengeful pursuit of Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) who killed her father, and she decides to hire the eye-patch wearing Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to help her on her quest.
It differs greatly from the 1969 version as it is much darker. The settings, which are beautifully shot, are of bleak and cold wilderness. This is a west which is truly wild.
If there is a criticism it is a little slow at the beginning. But the pace picks up with the introduction of Rooster and so too does the humour, which is typically dark. At times the viewer is unsure whether to laugh or squirm with disgust.
As with all Coen brothers films the performances are flawless. Matt Damon is hatable as the pompous LaBoeuf, Jeff Bridges is at times Dude-like but cantankerous. However, it is Hailee Steinfeld who steals the show. At 14-years-old, she carries the film as its stubborn and pugnacious narrator.