Monday, January 10, 2011

Tony: "True Grit" Review

To check out Matt's review of the film, click here. Now, I haven't read Matt's review because I've been looking forward to this movie since I first saw the trailer. It's brought to you by the brilliant Coen brothers, Joel & Ethan. The pair won director Oscars for No Country For Old Men, which also took home the Best Picture Oscar. Now comes True Grit, a good old fashioned western. The movie stars Hailee Steinfeld, the 14 years actress getting a lot of attention. She hires Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon to track down the man who killed her father. The killer is played by Josh Brolin. Read my likes and dislikes after the jump!

What I liked about the movie:
The Story
Sometimes, the best stories, are the most simple. I always believed the best stories could be summarized in a sentence or two... 'A young girls hires two law men to help avenge the death of her father'. Brilliant! The movie dives deep into each character's motives. The script was also written by the Coen brothers, so the fact that character development was important does not surprise me. They're just as good, if not better writers as they are directors. The story is simple and easy to follow.

If there is any action, its to compliment the story, nothing more. The narrative is carefully constructed as to not give anything away and sets a nice pace for the movie.

The Acting
Oh wow. Now, I haven't seen Colin Firth in The King's Speech yet, but Jeff Bridges is damn good in this one. We all know he won his first Oscar last year for Crazy Hearts, he may follow in Tom Hank's footsteps and win back-to-back Oscars. Bridges totally embodies this alcoholic mess of a U.S. Marshall. There is a court room scene that will blow your mind. He's amazing.

Matt Damon plays a Texas Ranger who was already on the hunt for, and knows everything there is to know about Josh Brolin's character. Damon is quick and witty in this one. Going toe to toe with Bridges. They have some hilarious scenes together where they're arguing.

Last but certainly not least is the actress getting a LOT of attention. Miss Hailee Steinfeld knocks it out of the park with her performance in the film. She has some of the most emotional scenes and most difficult dialogue in the movie. You seriously forget the girl was born in 1996! If you watch the movie, enjoy the negotiating scene with miss Steinfeld, amazing young actress.

Another notable performance is by Barry Pepper, who I believe is one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood. The man has turned in consistently good work, but just doesn't have the face of A-lister I suppose. I don't know what the reason, but he's so good in this film. It's a small role that could have EASILY been ignored by a different actor. Pepper does not disappoint. Kudos to the Coens for casting him. I bet the studios has their own actor in mind for the part.

The Direction
I am not as big a fan of Coens as Matt is, but I do respect them tremendously. They've found their own style of film making that no one can touch. The cinematography was spectacular; it gave the settings the scale needed for the story. The sets were realistic; the brothers helped create a fully functioning town that only helped enhance the film. The score was fitting and never tried to take over the story or the characters. The editing was perfect and fit every scene accordingly. The list could go on and on. They just did everything right!

What I didn't like about the film:
Oh! There he is!
This is a minor complaint amongst all the great aspects of the film. I hate when any movie does this, so I have to gripe about it here. I don't like when a character, good or bad, so conveniently reappears during a crucial moment in the film. That happens in this film and its forgivable.

The movie is amongst the best I've seen in a long long time. I'm really not doing it justice with this review, but it's the best I got. I hope Jeff Bridges does win his second Oscar and hopefully Steinfeld or Damon get recognized by the Academy as well. Two big thumbs up here! The Coen brothers are in true form with True Grit!