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A Well Done Remake

January 4, 2011 - Mike Donahey
A well done remake

The film “True Grit” is playing now at Marshalltown’s Plaza 9 Theaters. Some readers will recognize it as a remake of the 1969 film which earned the late John Wayne an Oscar for Best Actor. As a rule, I am not a fan of remakes. This has been borne out of experiences too lengthy to list here. Of course, there are exceptions. “The Thomas Crown Affair” was one. The 1999 film starring Pierce Bronson and René Russo bested the 1968 original, which starred the late Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. I knew True Grit was a Coen Brothers film—and I like several of their efforts Fargo,” “No Country for Old Men” and “O Brother, Where Art Thou” are some of my favorites. They did double-duty, as is their custom, with True Grit, writing the screenplay and directing the film. Still, I was skeptical about True Grit, but a chance for a family outing convinced me to check it out. I’m glad I did. And I’ll easily add True Grit to the list of well done remakes. The story line is this: Set in the Wild West, a savvy young girl is out to avenge the death of her father by a hired hand. However, to bring the man to justice she must find him—he’s fled into Indian country with other outlaws. She hires U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn, played by Jeff Bridges. He is a gruff, one-eyed man who likes his liquor and does things his way, sometimes skirting the law to get the job done. Newcomer Hailee Steinfield plays the young girl, Mattie Ross. Matt Damon plays a straight-laced talkative Texas Ranger on the murderer’s trail as well for a crime the hired hand, played ably by Josh Brolin, committed in Texas. The three join up as an unconventional team. Tracking outlaws is not an easy task and not for the meek. Rivers must be crossed. There are shoot-outs with well-armed and vicious outlaws. This is not a Disney-type western by any means. Bridges excels, as does Steinfeld. Look for her to be in more, many more movies. True Grit has appeared on some critic’s Top 10 Best Film lists. No argument from me. Look for it to garner several 2011 Oscar nominations as well. Treat yourself—see True Grit. See you at the concession stand.


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