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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jeff Bridges: The Dude takes on the Duke Retakes 'True Grit' - Remake Opens Tomorrow

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Coens' 'True Grit' a worthy remake
BY JOE WILLIAMS • Post-Dispatch Film Critic


In conventional Westerns, the heroes are men of honor who let their guns do the talking. In "True Grit," the heroes are a trigger-happy drunk and a 14-year-old girl who could talk the birds from the trees.


Casual moviegoers may regard the new remake of the 1969 film that won an Oscar for John Wayne as sacrilege. But true aficionados of both Western movies and Western literature should rejoice. Instead of deferring to the Duke, co-directors Joel and Ethan Coen have staked a claim to the source novel by Charles Portis, unearthing a gold mine of rich dialogue, rollicking adventure and resonant ideas about the American dream.
It's circa 1880, and northwest Arkansas is at the end of the rail line. Mattie Hayes (Hailee Steinfeld, astonishingly assured in her film debut), travels to a half-civilized outpost to retrieve the body of her cotton-merchant father and to track the scoundrel who shot him, Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). She hires the meanest marshal in the territory, one-eyed Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges, as gruff as a grizzly), and after he sobers up, they ride off in search of the gang that Chaney may have joined.

It's rare for the Coens to make a movie with a PG-13 rating, and with its rousing score by Carter Burwell and scenic cinematography by Roger Deakins, "True Grit" is just a couple bloody gunfights removed from an old-fashioned Disney yarn. Yet it's still unmistakably a Coen brothers movie, from the stray weirdness of a bearskin-clad dentist to the bulls-eye delights of the dialogue.Click Here for more info.

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