Coens improve on original ‘True Grit’

It’s not often a remake of a much loved film betters the original but here the Coens have not only bettered the John Wayne yarn of 1969 – for which he won his Academy Award (without in truth deserving it) – but shown it for what it really was: hardly a classic but a decent journeyman Western.

Directors: Ethan/Joel Coen

Cast: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin

Cert: 15

It’s not often a remake of a much loved film betters the original but here the Coens have not only bettered the John Wayne yarn of 1969 – for which he won his Academy Award (without in truth deserving it) – but shown it for what it really was: hardly a classic but a decent journeyman Western.

The Coens rightly decided to make their own screen version of the Charles Portis novel rather than a remake of the original and have brought an excellence to the story, aided considerably by fine performances from the always-watchable Bridges, Damon and the little lady who steals the film from all around her, Steinfeld.

She plays the sparky, opinionated 14-year-old Mattie Ross who seeks revenge on outlaw Tom Chaney (Brolin) who killed her father. Travelling into the badlands in search of a man of ‘true grit’ she finds the unlikely lawman Rooster Chaney.

They are joined on their dangerous journey into Indian territory by the comically bumbling Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Damon) who wants Chaney for another crime.

We have here a true Western classic, funny, action-packed, authentic, quite brilliantly acted and long to be remembered.

Star Rating: 5/5

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