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Old 21st Feb 2011, 18:15   #11
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Default Re: True Grit (2010)

Originally Posted by ono no komachi View Post
To me, Matt Damon was a revelation in his pitch-perfect performance. bill, what are these roles whereof you speak that he can perform in his sleep? Admittedly I have not particularly sought out many Matt Damon films, but I have never been so impressed with him before.
I was speaking generally. I do think Damon is a very good actor, with a gift for comedy and self-deprecation, so I think LeBoeuf's mix of arrogance and occasional foolishness is right up his alley. But there's certainly more to the character than that, which Damon also nails.

And I do know what you mean about Wayne, particularly in the original film. His incredible presence mixed with the way he would casually throw away some great Portis dialogue is why I've always loved that performance.
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Old 12th Mar 2011, 14:48   #12
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Default Re: True Grit (2010)

I love this movie. i think this one is the best movie in this year and it deserve it the oscar award.
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Old 17th Apr 2014, 8:31   #13
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Default Re: True Grit (2010)

Originally Posted by bill View Post
The real difference between the two films is tone, and this is where those who claim this new True Grit is simply an ordinary Western confuse me. If they feel that way, I can only assume that's because they're familiar with the story already and are letting that get in the way of the Coens' truly original approach to this genre, or at least truly particular take. In his review of the Coen brothers' film, Glenn Kenny said: "[T]he Coens' True Grit is not just a different film than the more classical Henry Hathaway-directed one; it's a different idea of a film than that one." I believe that's at the heart of things here. All you need to compare is, as I say, the tone. Hathaway is making a unique Western in a fairly ordinary way, at least behind the camera. In the remake, there's a genuine sense of these events -- the pursuit of Chaney by Mattie, Rooster, and LeBoeuf -- having happened in the past, which is importan, and that something will follow after the ending we know from Hathaway's film (itself different in a couple of important ways). And there's a melancholy to it all because of that, and hidden inside of that, which is entirely absent from the original film. Just take the night-time ride of Rooster and Mattie that is the emotional climax of both films: in Hathaway, it's filmed as a basic race against time, but with the Coens it's solemn, fierce, desperate, even impressionistic, and deeply moving.
Then there's what comes after that, and the little twitch in your memory when you meet one character and remember the reference to Cogburn's history with Quantrill during the Civil War, and the Coens' film comes out just plain richer than Hathaway's. But that's probably because Portis is richer. Either way, so what? Wayne's Rooster is a performance for the ages -- I think he's great in the role, and I don't care what the revisionists say -- and the rest of the film is plenty brisk and entertaining and well-made. And so we have two good film versions of a masterful book, plus we have the book. I'm looking for a reason to complain here, but I'm not finding one.

And since I spent so much time talking about it, the 1969 version gets .
I first saw the Hathaway film as a just pubescent teenager, when the tag line we all took away from it to share in junior high school was John Wayne/Rooster Cogburn's bellowing (just before the iconic horseback gunfight melee) "FAT MAN? FILL YOUR HANDS, YOU SON OF A BITCH!" as he committed and spurred his horse into the fight.

And True Grit (1969) succeeded as another in a long and happy line of John Wayne vehicles where we got to see that the old man still had good movies in him.

In college, later, I read Portis's novel and appreciated the story line, wishing that it was possible for Hollywood to adapt a good book without making a much less good screenplay.

This was about the same time that a Robert Redford vehicle, Jeremiah Johnson, re-affirmed for me that Hollywood could screw up a stainless-steel ball bearing - raping as it did Vardis Fisher's historical novel Mountain Man, as well as the more factual Crow Killer: The Saga of Liver-Eating Johnson by Raymond Thorp and Robert Bunker - and doing something offensive and unkind to the memory of "Liver-Eating" Johnson, the real-life trapper of whose life and doings Redford's Jeremiah Johnson was a pale shadow.

The Coen Brothers came along while I was still alive to make my college-days wish come true, at least for True Grit.

I concur with you - not just a different film than the Hathaway version, the Coens' True Grit but a whole different approach to a film. While it's not the word-for-word BBC sort of screen adaptation I admire so much (no one does historical films and adaptations of classic novels like the Beeb), it's a respectable effort to get the research right and get the tone right, and convey a real experience to the viewer.

Each film, I think, did what it sought to do, and as you say, those were wildly different things, each admirable in its own way.
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