Jeff Bridges steps into John Wayne’s oversize boots to play the larger-than-life role of whiskey-soaked, one-eyed marshal Rooster Cogburn in the Coen Brothers’ splendid Western remake True Grit. He’s the ornery lawman who’s hired by a precocious 14-year-old frontier girl named Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) to bring to justice the man who murdered her father. She insists on accompanying the marshal to see the job gets done, and isn’t too pleased when Texas Ranger LaBoeuf ((Matt Damon), who is hunting the fugitive for another crime, joins the quest.
The Western genre has been consigned to Boot Hill again and again, but the Coens prove the form is well and truly alive with this beautifully photographed, scripted and acted movie. Leaving their customary cynicism in the saddlebag, the brothers show they can shoot straight, for a change, though they still find room for the odd bit of dark humour. Bridges oozes ornery integrity as the boozy Rooster and Damon shines as the self-important but mettlesome Ranger. Only 13 at the time of shooting, Steinfeld is every bit as gritty as her co-stars, delivering a remarkably accomplished performance. She and Bridges picked up two of the film’s 10 Oscar nominations.
Released on DVD & Blu-ray by Paramount Home Entertainment.