Wednesday, June 08, 2011

TRUE GRIT (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2010)

***½
USA

For the first time in years the Coen Brothers shift away from icy, piercing existentialism towards something more traditional, something almost heartwarming until another [haunting] downer of an ending.

This remake of a 1969 John Wayne vehicle (which people remember for no other reason than its sorry-we-ignored-you-for-decades-we'll-ignore-Dustin-Hoffman-this-year Best Actor Oscar) is significantly stronger than the Coens previous shot at a remake (which people remember for no other reason than Tom Hanks playing Gargamel in a suit).

The setup here plays into their strengths: a plucky heroine, a scruffy ne'er-do-well grudgingly doing the right thing, a horde of funny-voiced small-towners and unending opportunities for grisly violence.

It doesn't resonate or obliterate narrative foundations like the Coens' finest, but it's a solid, satisfying yarn.

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