Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Date Night - True Grit

Plot: Mattie Ross arrives in Fort Smith as her family's sole representative, in search of the coward Tom Chaney (Brolin), who is said to have killed her father for two gold pieces before setting out into Indian Territory as a fugitive. Beholden to follow Chaney and see him hanged, Mattie enlists the help of a man rumored to be the most ruthless U.S. Marshal in town - trigger-happy, drunken Rooster Cogburn (Bridges), who, after many objections, agrees to hunt Chaney. But Chaney is already the target of the talkative Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Damon), who also aims to catch the killer and bring him back to Texas for an ample reward - which brings the trio to collide on the trail. Each willful and stubborn, each driven by their own rough moral codes, this unlikely posse rides towards an unpredictable reckoning, as they find themselves enveloped in the stuff of legend: mischief and brutality, courage and disillusion, doggedness and unalloyed love. via.

Matt's Rating: B-

Nicole's Rating: B-

Matt: What's his face was really good. I keep forgetting his name. The Dude.

Nicole: Jeff Bridges. He was fantastic. I feel like he's always fantastic.

M: The acting in general was pretty good. Everyone was pretty good - Matt Damon was good. But Bridges was visibly a step above everybody else.

N: That's because he's the man. The movie was slow to start, being extremely dialogue heavy and having scenes that lasted longer than they needed to. But right from the start you are blown away by the performance of that young actress and Jeff Bridges.

M: Some of the scenes were a little long and dialogue heavy like you said, but that's a trademark of the Coen brothers. But what was missing was the dark edge and the suspense that usually come with their scenes. It just didn't have the tension that No Country had.

N: And yet, I liked this better than No Country - even though this also had the disappointing ending. I hate movies that just end. I'd like to see the original to see how much the Coen brothers changed. It's apparent that the writing was phenomenal.

M: Oh my god. How do you not like No Country? Better question - how do you like this better than No Country?

N: I was so ridiculously disappointed by the end. If a movie isn't wrapped up to my satisfaction, it can ruin the entire experience for me. And it could be the best movie ever with what I deem a crappy ending and the whole thing is just done for me. I enjoyed this better because of the characters. I was really drawn to all of them, Mattie, Rooster Cogburn, LaBoeuf - even Ned Pepper and that crazy doctor that showed up for five seconds.

M: The characters were good and ultimately it was a character piece which is typical of the Coen brothers. But, even with character pieces, you need some underlying driving plot. And this seemed to lose its plot. So it became just watching these characters interact with each other. But ultimately I didn't care if they achieved their goals or not.

N: Well, it's not like I scored this all that high. If it wasn't for the acting and the well rounded characters, I'd be giving the thing a C. I agree with everything you're saying.

M: Yeah - if this was directed by anyone else, this would be getting a C, C+ at most. But the Coen brothers are one of my favorite directors, and in my opinion, top five directors. So I think the direction and writing raises it to a B-.

N: I'd say acting and writing before direction, but okay.

M: I disagree.

N: All right, well - what are your final thoughts?

M: I was expecting a 3:10 to Yuma or No Country for Old Men but instead I got an old school western, which I'm not a fan of. If you like old westerns, you'll like this movie.

N: The movie wasn't all that I expected. Josh Brolin only has a small part and I was hoping for more from him because I think he's great as well. But, it was enjoyable. And while I think this could have used some editing, I enjoy the slow cadence of a good western. I'd recommend seeing it but also ignoring all the hype.

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