Thursday, December 23, 2010

'True Grit' Now and Then

Bob Mondello compares 'True Grit', now and then:

This being Big Sky Country, in between meals, the camera would pull back so he could ride his horse down a hillside and they could cut away before the poor beast had to drag him up the next one. Director Henry Hathaway was such an old hand at Westerns that he didn't seem to be trying very hard with this one, mostly just setting up his cameras and letting the stars entertain -Kim Darby, perky as Mattie; Wayne, gruff and folksy, an old hand behind his eye patch; Campbell trying gamely not to trip.

Truth be told, there wasn't much actual acting going on until Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper showed up around midpoint as bad guys.

The Coen brothers' "True Grit" is grittier, as you'll expect if you saw their serial killer Western, "No Country for Old Men." It's also splendidly acted and takes full advantage of every breathtaking vista it comes across, a grand epic made quirky and intimate by the dialogue, some of which is lifted almost verbatim from the Charles Portis novel. Jeff Bridges wears the eye patch this time, gargling Rooster's lines...

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