Superb acting (Oscar worthy turns by Hailee Steinfeld and Jeff Bridges), beautiful cinematography (stunning albeit stark scenes from Texas and Colorado), clever script (they didn’t did not use contractions), and the usual creative Coen Brothers craftsmanship with an unusual (for them) straight genre Western, made for an entertaining Thursday evening at the movies.
True Grit had me at the beginning which was actually the end…of the tracks in vintage Ft. Smith. I was leaning forward in my seat as the out of tune piano plunked notes from my out of tune childhood.
You can almost smell the body odor of Jeff, I mean, Rooster, and lose your hand in his wrinkled life and speech until accidentally and quite despite himself—he discovers the hero hidden deep within.
Revenge exacts a heavy toll and as 14 year old Mattie guns down her fathers killer the Coens stunning metaphors caused me to sob audibly. (My life coach told me to jot down moments such as this, so maybe that is why you are reading these words.)
Maybe I am reading too much into it, but as the death shot was still echoing, Mattie plunges into an “inmost cave” filled with death and venom. Literally. She is poisoned by (what else?) a snake and must watch her beloved and aptly named “Blackie” sacrifice his life to save her. The pure white snow immediately begins to fall as Jeff, I mean, Rooster, carries the grown-up-way-too-soon adolescent to her salvation and his redemption.
Mattie loses an arm and eventually gains old maid status, still a small price to pay in good storyland, for her vengeful act.
Rooster never lays eyes on Mattie again, but gains a respectable job and a rare (for a bounty hunter) peaceful death in his older age.
Yep, I liked it. In fact, I loved it.
It was one of my “top 5” movies of 2011. Already.
I know I’m looking into the future a little, but I think I can confidently make that prediction. And that it will garner some Academy Award nominations, I am most sure.
How about you?
What did you think of it?
Should it have ended at the fade to black as Rooster collapses at the store?
Am I reading too much into it?