Sunday, 13 February 2011



From 'The Duke' to 'The Dude', 'True Grit's' spurs keep clicking.

15, 110 Minutes. Starring: Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin, Hailee Steinfeld & Barry Pepper. Directors: Joel & Ethan Coen. Screenplay: Joel & Ethan Coen

From years to decades and new centuries, great stories will remain told in all their original glory and all their, 'True Grit'. This is especially true in this written and directed Cohen brothers picture and legendary Speilberg production. The brothers with a knack of telling terrific, tall talents, awaken and re-invigorate the John Wayne classic with the help of their dude from 'The Big Lebowski', Jeff Bridges and some A-List talent, old and new school (literally, one hasn't even graduated).

'True Grit', portrays the story of Mattie Ross (Steinfeld), who's father is murdered by Tom Chaney (Brolin). She enlists the reluctant help of muttering, marauding, Marshall Rooster Cogburn (Bridges) and reluctantly accepts the aid of meaty, Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Damon). On the quest to find the killer of her father, her mettle will be tested and her real grit and determination brought to justice. From the, flickering lantern, ash rain darkness of the opening scene, to every fondly reminiscent frame and final sunlight, this movie takes you back to the wild days with every gallop, as the notoriously left Cohen's do right and don't go West of the original story.

'The Dude' is big, sitting comfortably in 'The Dukes' saddle. Jeff bridges the generations gap perfectly, slurring his speech, whisking his whisky and carrying his pistols with cocksure confidence. He is the perfect modern-day interpretation of Wayne as he furthers his own legend. After his 'Tron: Legacy' and his Oscar worthy, 'Crazy Heart'. Don't be surprised if this Hollywood gunslinger steals the crown jewels and Colin Firth's penned speech in these coming February weeks.

As the dude makes sure this aggression will not stand, those standing in his way really do plant their feet. Dusting off his 'Jonah Hex' stetson, the usual smooth looking Josh Brolin roughs it as Chaney, adding another real performance to his ever impressive line of credits. Barry Pepper also goes through a little transformation, in need of a dental checkup and a mouth-guard, riding Robert Duvall's horse with confident homage in his own right and interpretation.

The real heavyweight performances come on Bridges side however. His partner Matt Damon brings his shield and Ron Burgundy moustache for a shining performance that anchors in the actors versatility. This leading man saddles up for a trip that shows he is no one trick pony. With 'Grit', Damon's true talents are 'bourne.' Along with 'Hereafter' and the forthcoming 'The Adjustment Bureau', the hardest-working man in Hollywood continues to hit big for what almost seems like every other month, with no sign of hiatus.

Now for what everyone has been talking about, forget what you've heard. Hallie Steinfeld doesn't deserve the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for this, she deserves the Best Actress award. She is the evoking light that brings this story to the eyes of the new generations. This rookie performance is as confident as a graduate, with the conviction of a veteran. She stands next to Hollywood's best in movies most marketable Matt Damon and the legendary legacy of Bridges and more then just holds her own. Everything you've read about her is true and the some...and this girl is only 14 years old. A true acting prodigy, her strength in character makes 'Kick Ass'', Chloe Mortez look like a shy school-girl. Steinfeld's future is set in stone.

With a saloon of talent, the Cohen brothers make their presence felt with their Western legend. Following 'Fargo' and the modern-day, Western esque, Brolin born, 'No Country For Old Men', the Cohen's craft another classic for their collection. From delightful dialogue to alluring action, this film is funny, tense and exciting. It is a gritty trip come thrill-ride in one linear, straight-laced, suited and booted smart movie. The Cohen's add their own style without compromising the substance of the original. From almost identical scenes to alternative takes, the brothers pay homage with true integrity. This tribute peace is a testament to true film-making. The duke would be proud and would maybe even smile for this one. Let's just hope there is a 'Rooster Cogburn' sequel. Amongst many classics to already begin 2011, this film of the year displays real, genuine courage and determination. Now to shoot from the hip, does this picture stand up to the original? Well this debate will have to be settled like they did back then, because it's a draw. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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