The Dude abides - cowboy styles

Last updated 09:07 04/02/2011

True GrittinessSure Jeff Bridges was pretty darn good as a washed-up country singer in Crazy Heart. It was definitely time to give the man an Oscar. But in True Grit he's soooo much better.

Even if you're not usually a Coen brothers fan, go see it. If you're a fan of Westerns, definitely go see it!

Taking on the eye-patched role made famous by John Wayne back in 1969, Bridges plays US marshall Rooster Cogburn in the Coen brothers new (yet old-fangled) film, True Grit. The Dude has been replaced by The Duke.

The cast is cram-packed with talent, including Matt Damon as the smug Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, and Josh Brolin (who last collaborated with the Coen's on their modern Western No Country For Old Men) as the baddie, yet it's an unknown 14-year-old girl who steals practically every scene she's in. And she's in nearly every scene.

Hailee Steinfeld in her Oscar-nominated big screen debut holds her own among distinguished company. She plays Mattie Ross - Tom Chaney (Brolin) shot her poppa, and now she's determined to hunt him down and bring him to justice.

The only one who manages to grab your attention from her stirling performance is the Dude himself. He's got an accent thicker than treacle, but pay attention because he's got a way with words (even if they are hard to decipher at times). While this is a fairly macho, oaty drama on horseback, with plenty of gunslinging, ambushing, and the odd touch of violence (they sure string corpses high in these parts... and gosh, don't fingers slice off easily in the 1870s?) I would love to recommend this film to impressionable young women, as Mattie is one of those great characters. It's only M-rated, after all...

Mind you, one of the more disturbing moments in this PC world may be when LaBoeuf decides to give Mattie a spanking. It's not something you see in that context anymore - when a man raises his hand to a woman on film it's usually something more salacious (like Secretary) or more violent (er, Once Were Warriors?).

As the title suggests, this is about true grit and each of the three main characters, Mattie, Cogburn and LaBoeuf, must show their mettle at some point.

They say that Bridges is at a stage in his distinguished and lengthy career, that, like Meryl Streep, he can do no wrong. Well, it takes terrific talent to do no wrong this right.

I realise the buzz in Hollywood is that this is definitely C-C-Colin Firth's turn (he probably should have won for A Single Man, last year), but I would love to see Bridges recognised for this fantastic performance.

The one-eyed man is definitely king.

Is that enough to convince you? Why are you still here? Shouldn't you be heading to a cinema? Check out the trailer below if you're still undecided.

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Shane   #1   09:26 am Feb 04 2011

Hell I was convinced months ago after only seeing the trailers AND that it was a Cohen brothers film.

Good modern westerns are hard to come by so I'm looking forward the characters being shot up and hung high in the tradition of movies of old.

Sacha   #2   09:58 am Feb 04 2011

If you're really NOT into Westerns would you still recommend this movie?

Michael   #3   10:47 am Feb 04 2011

Cannot wait to see this. It looks like another infinitely-quotable Coen Bro's film.

LB   #4   10:47 am Feb 04 2011

My boyfriend and I watched True Grit the other night as we won tickets. Its not the sort of thing either of us would normally choose to go to but we were both pleasantly surprised. I like the Coen brothers style.

Chaz   #5   11:22 am Feb 04 2011

Jeff has already been recognised, he got nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars.

It's DEFINITELY Colin Firth's time, after "A Single Man" and now "The King's Speech" being the best performances of his career, they are fools to give it to anyone else and if they do I will be very p'd off.

the_fridge   #6   11:26 am Feb 04 2011

I found it quite turgid and the characters unbelievable especially the Mattie Ross and overall didn't enjoy it.

Margaret Agnew   #7   11:31 am Feb 04 2011

Hi Sacha, Yes, I would definitely still recommend this film! Even if you think you don't like Westerns, you will find something to interest you, even if it's trying to figure out if Matt Damon's character is a good guy ... Or trying to catch what Jeff Bridges is saying...

Nikki   #8   11:53 am Feb 04 2011

Yeah, pretty hard to get through that accent! Some amazing dialogue too. The bartering scene with Mattie was most excellent.

Margaret Agnew   #9   11:57 am Feb 04 2011

Actually, it's hard to lose at the cinema this weekend. Heaps of great films on, including previews of 127 Hours (not for the faint-hearted or claustrophobic), The King's Speech, The Fighter, Four Lions.. I may even have missed something - even the kiddy film Tangled is a bit of fun in 3D.

jo   #10   12:14 pm Feb 04 2011

Went to see Tru Grit last night and it was amazing! A movie for all audiences. The old boy is superb, the young girl was amazing and surprisingly Matt Damon was more than tolerable!

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