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Friday, November 16, 2012

True Grit

This week's movie recommendation is the Coen Brothers' remake, True Grit from the novel by Charles Portis. Much of the original movie starring John Wayne is gone, but the heart of the book (and much of the dialogue) remains in this visually stunning story of justice and the hardships along the way. The story is told through the precocious eye of Mattie who between ruthless bargaining and Scripture-quoting, hires a "one-eyed fat man" (Rooster Cogburn played by Jeff Bridges) to hunt down her father's killer. Mattie is equal parts determined, tough as nails, and child desperately trying to fill her father's shoes. All the characters are masterfully wrought and portrayed as complex individuals that really capture the spirit of those who braved the Old West. Shot by cinematographer Roger Deakins the landscape is both parts stunning and treacherous: a beautiful wintry forest is marred by a hanging corpse, an endless horizon against a beautiful star-filled sky highlights the characters isolation from anyone who could offer help. The movie could become a classic; the story has already stood the test of time and this interpretation has all the necessary elements of a timeless film.
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