I am not a big fan of Westerns. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of these films that I’ve been able to sit through. Nor am I a fan of John Wayne. I haven’t seen the original True Grit, nor do I, even after having seen the Coen Bros. remake, have any desire to. That said, I didn’t hate this movie. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it, either. Mostly, I was indifferent, though I can appreciate the acting, particularly by teen sensation Hailee Steinfeld, who plays a girl out to avenge the death of her father and bring his murderer to justice. The remake also stars Jeff Bridges (last year’s Oscar winner for his role in Crazy Heart) as Rooster Cogburn, a U.S. Marshall whom Steinfeld’s Mattie Ross enlists to help bring in the criminal Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). Mattie also hires Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Matt Damon), and the trio sets out into Indian Territory to capture the outlaw Chaney. The premise is simple, but the three leads, particularly Steinfeld, give needed depth to their characters. Steinfeld absolutely steals every scene she’s in, which is an accomplishment when in the company of two established actors such as Bridges and Damon*. Although this isn’t Bridges best work to date (to be honest, his muttering grated on my nerves and made it difficult to understand what he was saying), True Grit was a mostly enjoyable movie experience. I found some of the scenes horrifically lit at times, though this is a bigger detriment to Winter’s Bone than True Grit. In the end, I still can’t claim to be a fan of the Hollywood Western, but I can claim that I will be keeping my eye on Hailee Steinfeld.
*Despite the Academy’s argument to the contrary, Steinfeld was a lead actress, not a supporting actress in this film. She appears in every scene and is the narrator and the conscience of the film.