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Paul Jensen

TRUE GRIT (2010) 4 stars

The Coens deliver a perfect homage to an age-old genre. When Jeff Bridges gallops towards the four men on horseback, and the music kicks in, I wept with affection towards forty years of classic Hollywood myth. The strength of a fourteen year old girl is also inspiring. As she makes her way across the river, I was euphoric. It's both a feminist western and a straight-forward tribute to the classic western. There isn't a false moment. The language is pitch-perfect, cinematography stunning and performances perfectly nuanced and authentic. The film is totally believable and the story is riveting. The final rattle-snake moment is almost archetypal and mythic in its implications. The symbolism throughout shines with glorious confidence and maturity. The film is both simple yet undeniably assured. Yes, the characters may have true grit but the true test is, are they decent? Again and again, characters are questioned about their morality. After all, isn't this what Westerns embedded in the kids who grew up with them? Iconic, brutally unflinching at times and ethically strong. The Coens have done the genre proud. (The dentist with the bear coat is definitively quirky Coens humor.)


Genre: Western
Director: Joel Coen