True Grit,

Pasatiempo - - Moving Images -

Rooster Cog­burn and Kim Darby as Mat­tie. While we lose Wayne’s star power here, over­all the cast­ing is much bet­ter this time around. The Coens are more faith­ful to Por­tis’ novel than the 1969 movie in terms of em­pha­siz­ing that Mat­tie is the one who ex­em­pli­fies true grit. New­comer Hailee Ste­in­feld makes Mat­tie a child war­rior who will not let rain nor snow nor sleet nor men with guns sway her from her duty. Oddly enough, in a movie genre dom­i­nated by males, she’s the char­ac­ter who most ac­cu­rately re­flects the Western no­tion that “a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do” — par­tic­u­larly since her two adult col­leagues are pre­oc­cu­pied in prov­ing their own man­hood to each other via an ab­surd se­ries of ver­bal and phys­i­cal com­pe­ti­tions, in­clud­ing us­ing their six-guns to shoot corn dodgers out of the sky.

As Cog­burn, Wayne was the bois­ter­ous fig­ure of du­bi­ous author­ity who would some­how get the job done (of course he would — he’s John Wayne!), but Jeff Bridges plays the man as a drunken, un­re­li­able layabout, a W.C. Fields of the prairie who takes per­verse de­light in ap­ply­ing his boots to the back­side of mis­be­hav­ing chil­dren (not once, but twice). With his scrag­gly, un­washed hair and beard and his bul­bous nose, Bridges gives a ren­di­tion of the knight er­rant that em­pha­sizes the er­rant. The ac­tor puts his stamp on the char­ac­ter, set­ting aside any wor­ries about be­ing un­fairly com­pared to Wayne, but his grav­elly Nick Nolte voice may wear on you, and at times it’s quite dif­fi­cult to hear what he’s say­ing. Matt Da­mon plays LaBoeuf as a con­fi­dent dandy who might have just stepped out of a Wild West

You hu­man paraquat! Jeff Bridges

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