This is the third review in my Glasgow Film Festival series and so far this is the best film I have seen, not just at the film festival but of the year so far. True Grit is incredible, plain and simple. There will be spoilers in this review so those of you who do not want the film to be spoiled, do not click the jump.
The main story of True Grit of 14 year old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) hiring US Marshal Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to hunt her father's killer, Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) is a great story overall with the necessary betrayal and gunslinging to make it a good western film. In terms of acting Jeff Bridges is great as Rooster Cogburn, clearly having a lot of fun with the character, especially when playing drunk and shows just how ruthless Cogburn can be in the shoot out with Ned Pepper (Barry Pepper, how ironic is that) and his gang. Matt Damon does a great job as LaBoeuf and shows how talented an actor he can be in a role that was not really made for Damon. Josh Brolin is great as Chaney, showing the world that he was not the one responsible for Jonah Hex being terrible (that rests with Megan Fox) and has a bit of fun in the role. But the standout performance is Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross.Great child actresses are like buses, you wait a lifetime for one and multiple ones show up at once, in this generation we currently have Hailee Steinfeld and Chloe Grace Moretz and it is now a battle of which one is better. Steinfeld gives one of the best child performances I have ever seen in a film and steals scenes from right under Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. What is even more incredible is that this is Steinfeld's first film, I have never known any other actor or actress to give a first performance as incredible as this. Why Steinfeld isn't top billed in the marketing or the credits is beyond me as she is clearly the lead actress and why the hell is she nominated for Best Supporting Actress instead of Best Actress, she is the lead actress in the film but if she is nominated for Best Supporting Actress, to quote Mark Kermode, "it leads me to believe that the main actress is Matt Damon." The actions scenes in the film are incredible, especially the final shoot out with the Ned Pepper gang, the dialogue is great, the best example being when Mattie ferociously haggles with the person who had her father's horse when he died with Steinfeld delivering the dialogue fast and swift, leading up to a really funny scene about 10 minutes later on in the film. The cinematography is excellent with the landscape looking believably harsh and uninviting while also having some great shots, mainly when Cogburn is helping take Mattie to a doctor after she gets bitten by a rattlesnake. Now this is the first Coen Brothers film I have seen fully, and I am going to get the Coen Brothers box-set after watching this film, their direction is that good and they really did deserve the Oscar nomination for Best Director. To summarize, True Grit is a phenomenal film, if you have not seen the film yet, get to a cinema and watch, you will not be disappointed, even if you aren't a fan of westerns.
My Rating: 5/5
Come back soon for my final review from my Glasgow Film Festival series, Kramer vs Kramer.