For those of you miss the star power of John Wayne, don't think that Jeff Bridges tried to imitate the Duke in this version of True Grit. Though the novel was in fact written with the Duke in mind for the lead it had to be adapted to fit his larger than life movie star image. In this version Jeff Bridges is considerably less than larger than life.
As happened back in 1969 in the first version young Mattie Ross played here by Hallee Steinfeld goes to Fort Smith, Arkansas to look for the murderer of her father. She is determined to bring him to justice, but being a young lady barely into puberty she wants a man of True Grit. She seeks out US Marshal Rooster Cogburn of the one eye who has the meanest reputation and that would be Jeff Bridges. Texas Ranger Matt Damon declares himself in on the hunt for the murderer who is played by Josh Brolin.
A whole lot of the script is lifted bodily from the 1969 classic with lines given a whole different emphasis. Damon's character is a good deal darker than Glen Campbell's was, he meets up with Mattie Ross as she awakens from a night's sleep as opposed to over the boardinghouse dinner table. That scene can lead to all kinds of speculation for an even slightly prurient mind.
Bridges wisely does not attempt to imitate John Wayne, he creates his own Rooster who is menacing enough as he is. It was good enough to get him an Academy Award nomination though not the big prize that the Duke got. But as I said in my review of the 1969 True Grit, Wayne's award was for the work of a lifetime and a tribute to the man who still compels more folks to watch film than any other.
What this film really lacks is the colorful supporting players of the first version. I truly enjoyed scenes with Strother Martin dealing with Kim Darby over the horses. Her lawyer J. Noble Daggett is completely eliminated accept for J.K. Simmons over the soundtrack as Steinfeld reads a letter. One of the best scenes in the last film is John Wayne finally meeting John Fiedler as lawyer Daggett who brought that railroad to its knees. And John Wayne's scene with landlord J.W. Kim besting him at gin rummy. They even eliminated the cat General Sterling Price, that's unforgivable.
Still I did enjoy the different interpretation Jeff Bridges put on the role and this film will also stand the test of time.
Action / Adventure / Drama / Western
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1 hr 50 min