REVIEW: 'True Grit': the Duke would abideRemakes are a dangerous business. It is nearly impossible to improve upon an original version, and if that movie holds some sort of iconic presence in the mind of filmgoers, the venture becomes that much more treacherous.
The cinematic landscape is littered with the corpses of remakes.
Of course, if the smart money were on anyone to pull it off, you'd have to go with the Cohen Brothers (and even they have added to the remake body-count with their quickly-forgotten redux of "The Ladykillers").
Well, guess what? The boys have emerged from the remake battleground unscathed and have brought us a new and improved version of the classic western, "True Grit."
"True Grit" is best known as the movie that won John Wayne his one and only Academy Award, but truth be told, it's not all that great of a film. Oh, sure, Wayne is very good as Rooster Cogburn, a deputy U.S. Marshal hunter hired by a precocious 14-year-old girl to track down her father's killer.
But I suspect a lot of the award had to do with a voters' sentiment of: "We had better hurry up and give The Duke an Oscar before he drops dead and/or beats us up."
This time around Jeff Bridges tackles the role of Rooster and manages to match Wayne pound for pound (literally) in one-eyed, drunken awesomeness. He bellows his way through this movie with a voice scarred by whiskey and tobacco smoke. Fantastic stuff.
But while Bridges holds the line, it is the massive upgrade in talent in the rest of the cast that leaves the 1969 version of "True Grit" quaking in its boots.
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