I think I liked this one a little bit more than The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Not just because it was shorter but it was a little bit less ..bearing on you. Where The Assassination wants you to be clear that there is no such thing as heroes, wrong or right, stalking is never good and so on – it pushes more to form an opinion. True Grit is a lot more … ‘simply there’.
That’s not because there happens less. Here are also shoot outs, needless deaths and gorgeous surroundings. And main character Mattie Ross (a thirteen year old girl whom decides to hunt down her father’s killer) is much stronger and level-headed than Robert Ford. Mattie knows her business, is smart and unimpressed by adults (fooling around). There are only very few shots in which she’s denigrated to plot device, a sudden question asked in a too childish voice to help the clueless viewers along. Which really isn’t necessary in my opinion, especially because with Jeff Bridges’ accent (the Marshall that helps her) you wouldn’t understand the answer anyway. His Marshall really needs subtitles from time to time.
True Grit is a little bit lighter, mostly due to its characters (as its surroundings are covered in the bleakness that seems to come with westerns). The Marshall is the gruff with the golden heart, LaBoeuf is flamboyant but honest, the bad guys are stinky rats and Mattie could be a role model for a lot of children, boys and girls alike. The good thing about Hailee Steinfeld’s acting is that you never get the ‘Ugh, child-actor’ feeling. Mattie’s snappy remarks fit her, as do her sudden tears.
Western isn’t a genre I’m well-versed in (before these two films only having watched The Quick and The Dead) and I don’t know if it completely fits me. I do know that I want to see more of Mattie’s story. Luckily there’s a comic for that.
True Grit, Paramount Pictures 2010