Like all right-thinking people, I’ve seen all of the films of Joel and Ethan Coen. Thus I was looking forward immensely to their take on True Grit
, the tale of a young girl’s quest to bring her father’s killer to justice in the largely lawless Old West. And it certainly doesn’t disappoint in terms of cinematic craft – glorious vistas, beautifully ripe dialogue (cf Deadwood
), and excellent performances from the miraculous Hailee Steinfeld (13 years old at the time of shooting), Jeff Bridges as the ill-tempered, drunken and largely incomprehensible Rooster Cogburn, and Matt Damon as Labouef, the amusingly vain Texas Ranger. All beautifully done, and fully deserving of all the plaudits it has received, but unlike most of the brothers’ previous work (e.g. the wonderful The Big Lebowski
, Miller’s Crossing
, Blood Simple
, even Intolerable Cruelty
) it does little – other than during a few climactic, dreamlike moments near the end – to skew, transform or transcend the genre in which it sits. A magnificent piece of work, but pretty much reverent, heritage filmmaking, with only sporadic flashes of the trademark Coen facetiousness.
Last week, I attended the funeral of Mark Ryan, noted Cardiff playwright, one-time guitarist with Adam And The Ants, and highly entertaining bloke to spend time with. On a grim day, it was good to see a healthy turn-out, and to take in the celebratory tone of the eulogies. R.I.P.
Labels: cardiff, cinema, film, review