Movie Review: True Grit (2011)

Coen Brothers' True GritThe Coen brothers (No Country for Old Men) have done it again, pouring on the production costs for another movie about nothing, this time True Grit, based on the Charles Portis novel, which was made into a John Wayne movie in 1969. As with their previous efforts, which are as bland and vacant as this picture, absurdism is the gist of the thing. With a monotonous lead character Mattie Ross (terribly overrated Hailee Steinfeld) saying modern utterances such as “woo-hoo!” and acting like a stoic girl power cliche and with a dollop of robotic religion, this True Grit could put entire villages to sleep. Glacially paced, with the Coen brothers’ requisite putrid scenes and a plot peppered with pointlessness (a man wearing a dead bear yammers about veterinary medicine, yadda yadda ba-dum-bump), Barry Pepper’s villain keeps the action marginally interesting. Matt Damon and Josh Brolin do more posing and posturing than anything and Jeff Bridges appears to be operating on the rule that he must do whatever he can to eviscerate any heroism from a character made beloved by John Wayne. His version of Rooster Cogburn is an aimless piece of flesh, measurably worse than the Duke’s flawed marshal. Audiences may have been starved for the sight of some Western nostalgia this winter, and who can blame them, but this pile of dung rhymes with grit; a Western drained of what’s great about the West.

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