Writer: Eu Sze Sean
Overall: 4.0 Out of 5
Cast: 5.0 Out of 5
Plot: 4.0 Out of 5
Effects: 4.0 Out of 5
Cinematography: 5.0 Out of 5
Watch this if you liked: “No Country For Old Men”, “The Wild Bunch”
"True Grit" is the second movie adaptation of Charles Portis' 1968 novel, written and directed by the Coen brothers, who had previously worked on "No Country for Old Men". It is currently nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture. This is quite a feat considering that only three other Western films have won the Best Picture Oscar and only a handful more (literally) have been nominated over the history of the movie industry.
The story of "True Grit" is told out from the perspective of Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), who is determined to avenge her father's death by apprehending the murderer, Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) and bring him to justice. Mattie recruits the help of Deputy U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) and Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Matt Damon) to hunt down and capture Chaney.
The story is straightforward, gripping, humorous, and with decent amount of action scenes. But the beauty of this movie lies in the storytelling and the cinematography. The opening scene itself starts with a narration by Mattie along with a blurred image slowly revealing a cold, dark winter's night and gradually zooms in to reveal the death of Mattie's father at the doorsteps of their house. Once the audience gets drawn in, the rest of the film will leave the audience mesmerized by the beauty, serenity and sheer wilderness of the wild frontier.
The real star of the movie has to be aspiring newcomer Hailee Steinfeld for her portrayal of the headstrong Mattie Ross. Hailee brilliantly and quite naturally plays out all the traits of Mattie; smart, decisive, quick witted, fearless and unrelenting, while maintaining a childlike and feminine quality. The partnership of Jeff and Hailee is a match made in movie heaven, and it is always amusing and entertaining to watch their antics and listen to their interaction throughout the movie. The on-screen chemistry/rivalry/bickering partnership between Jeff Bridges as the old but experienced Cogburn and Matt Damon as the proud and talkative LaBoeuf is equally as riveting and a worthy mention indeed.
So does "True Grit" deserve all the praise, acclamation and award nomination it deserves? This reviewer certainly believes so. But movie goers and Western fans should catch this movie and let the results speak for itself. Casual movie goers however may find it difficult to chew on the fast-talking Western English. If anything else, this movie will bring out the little child inside of each Western lover's heart who yearns to be a cowboy or a cowgirl when they were younger. As for the Academy Awards? All fingers crossed for this one.
Cinema Online, 23 February 2011