Mar 21, 2012

True Grit [2010] and future plans

The fourth Coen brothers movie on my list was their latest, True Grit, released in 2010, and based on a novel by Charles Portis (and another movie starring John Wayne) which is new for me, because all the films I saw were written by them, not adapted. [was Fargo adapted or just based on a true story? I can't remember; anyway]. It tells the story of Mattie Ross, a stubborn 14 year old girl who hires an old, mean sheriff to revenge the death of her father, by catching and surrendering Tom Chaney, the murderer, to the authorities. What's the catch? She is going with him into the land of the Indians.  

Again, this film is very different from the other Coens pics and I love that; you never know what to expect from the brothers in terms of storyline, but you know you will always get amazing cinematography, great dialogue, strong characters and peculiar situations and people. True Grit falls perfectly into those lines and turns out to be an entertaining movie, with good intentions, multiple layers and good old time action and fun, to top the visually beautiful scenes and the great acting. 

Speaking of it, the casting is fantastic, especially when it comes down to the two leads, Reubeun Cogburn, played by Oscar winner Jeff Bridges, and Mattie Ross, played by the young Hailee Steinfeld, who, weirdly enough, was nominated for awards in the Supporting role category- her part was as lead as a role can be (stupid phrasing, but you get my point). Matt Damon did his job, but I found his character and his portrayal of it to be a little annoying and exaggerated. 

I liked the fact that the film was pretty straight-forward, tough, with attitude and funny, sarcastic lines, and I especially loved the sequence of scenes at the end- Mattie being attacked, the appearance of Cogburn and La Boeuf, shooting at 120 m, falling etc etc; it was exciting, fun to watch and nicely done. 

True Grit was a very good movie that I enjoyed. If you will ever do a Coens marathon or plan to see some of their movies or if you just like westerns or if just like good movie or if you like Jeff Bridges/Matt Damon/Josh Brolin- get this film now and see it, you will not be dissappointed!

Overall, the Coens marathon was a huge surprise for me- I did not expect to like their movies so much! Each one is unique, with distinctive features and qualities, but all have several key points that make the project better every time, and by now, if you have read my posts, you know them: script, characters, casting, cinematography- any film who excels in these points can be called a great one, so I guess it's safe to say the Coens always do an amazing job! They are now in my favorite directors, but mostly scriptwriters, category, and I can't wait to see Inside Llewyn Davis (written and directed by them, now filming in New York, with Carey Mulligan, Oscar Isaac, Garrett Hedlund, Justin Timberlake and John Goodman), and Gambit, set to be released in 2012, written by the brothers, but directed by Michael Hoffman.

If you're curious about future plans, I plan to do a mini Herzog marathon soon, and then a huge Stanley Kubrick one, with, hopefully, all of his movies (I sure need to watch them, it's embarrassing how many I haven't seen already). Honestly, I have to admit, I am terrified by Herzog, especially his earlier, feature film work, as I saw some trailers and synopsis and they don't seem something I would particularly enjoy, but I will be brave and try- maybe it's not so bad!

So, tell me, did you like my Coen brothers posts? what do you suggest I should do next? any (light) recommendations for the Herzog marathon? 


  1. Have you seen O Brother? Did I miss it?

  2. I haven't seen any Herzog films either.
    There are quite a few Kubrick films I haven't seen, even though he is one of my favourite directors. It's mostly because of how impatient I am, as these films are 3 hours+, which I get really irritated with. I do need to see them, however.

  3. I'm glad you liked True Grit it's in my top 3 from last year, it was so insanely entertaining and hilarious and Bridges was amazing. Oh my, Timberlake is in their new movie? I was hoping he will cease to poison films with his presence.

  4. Okay here are some Herzog tips you requested:

    In order to get a balance of his work, you’ve got to see some of his features and docs, and to pick just five is… difficult, for me.

    The Werner Herzog/Klaus Kinski collaboration is Germany’s Scorsese/De Niro, so you have to watch at least one they did together. “Augirre, the Wrath of God” and “Fitzcarraldo” are the two most popular they did, “Woyzeck” is my favorite (but it’s very hard to find)

    You’ve got to get in some mad-ass crazy Herzog, so for that, I’d recommend “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” (or “My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done”)

    You cannot go wrong with “Grizzly Man,” “Encounters at the End of the World,” and “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” (which are all on America’s Netflix Instant)

    Deeper cuts include “La Soufrière,” “The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner,” and “Little Dieter Needs to Fly”

    So if you find five of the ones I’ve mentioned, that’ll give you a good, basic overview.

    If you want to keep going, “Heart of Glass,” “Stroszek,” “Nosferatu,” “Lessons of Darkness,” “My Best Fiend” – all excellent

  5. @Scott: I didn't see it, sorry, maybe another time!
    @Nikhat: I know what you mean, I get impatient sometimes, too!
    @Sati: yeah, I did like True Grit a lot. I don't think Timberlake is as bad as anyone thinks, but he's not that good, either. If the Coens picked him, I am sold- they always have excellent casting, so he must be there for a reason!
    @Alex: Thank you for the Herzog lesson, I really needed that! I'm starting to search for the movies and hopefully start posting at the beginning of next month!

  6. I liked the idea of marathon, I will try it myself.

    Herzog is a good choice 'cuz he's not that popular, most of the bloggers do Kubrick marathons but they skip Herzog.

    In True Grit, Matt Damon surprised me, I don't really like him... but in this movie he was so unlikeable that I liked him. :))

  7. True Grit was fantastic, I thought. I had a great time watching it at the cinemas and then again with my friends on DVD. It is a surprisingly funny movie - very entertaining, that's for sure. Hailee Steinfeld was great too! I can't wait to see what she does next.

  8. Wow, it looks you and I are in parallel direction as far as the directors we're about to explore. Though I'm planning to do a profile on Kubrick late in the year. I do have some old reviews that I'm going to re-write and post throughout the year.

    As for Werner Herzog, I own the Herzog-Kinski box set which is a must-have as I'm going to also do some re-writes on the old reviews I wrote back in as well as a couple of new ones.

    The ones I recommend are Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Fitzcarraldo, Woyzeck, Grizzly Man, and Encounters at the End of the World.

    I would also suggest watching a couple of Herzog-related docs such as Burden of Dreams about the making of Fitzcarraldo and the short Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe.

  9. @Maledisant: So unlikeable that I liked him :) I get what you mean, sometimes that happens to me, too, but it didn't in this case
    @Stevee: Hailee is doing Romeo and Juliet with Douglas Booth, another dashing young British guy! Can't wait to see how it turns out to be!
    @Steven: Thank you for the suggestions, I will keep them in mind! Good luck with your own marathons!

  10. fargo was not based on a book or true story. it was an original concept but the brothers pretended that it was based on real events. wish you had gone further back, cos you will have missed out on at least 3 great coen bros movies: raising arizona, barton fink, and millers crossing. seriously see those 3 they are perhaps their best

  11. @illbomber: Thanks for the recommendation, I will add them to my list- I love the Coens, so I will be sure to check them out soon!