Jun 062011
 

While True Grit didn’t exactly enthrall me as it has others, it’s still a worthy effort thanks to the performances of Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld as well as the brilliant cinematography of Roger Deakins. The Blu-ray itself excels in the audio and video departments and although there’s a nice 30-minute documentary on writer Charles Portis, everything else falls short.

 

 


True Grit (2010)


REVIEW NAVIGATION

The Movie
| Special Features | Video Quality | Audio Quality | Overall

 

Genre(s): Western, Action
Paramount | PG13 – 110 min. – $39.99 | June 7, 2011

 

MOVIE INFO:
Directed by:
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Writer(s):
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (written by)
Cast:
Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper, Hailee Steinfeld

Theatrical Release Date: December 22, 2010

DISC INFO:
Features:
Featurettes, DVD/Digital Copy Combo Disc
Number of Discs:
2

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish  (Dolby Digital 5.1), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video:
1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles:
English SDH, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Codec:
MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s):
A, B, C


THE MOVIE – 3.75/5

Plot: Mattie Ross (HAILEE STEINFELD) is determined to avenger her father’s blood by capturing Tom Chaney (JOSH BROLIN), the man who shot and killed him for two pieces of gold. Just fourteen, she enlists the help of Rooster Cogburn (JEFF BRIDGES), a one-eyed, trigger-happy U.S. Marshall with an affinity for drinking, and hardened Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (MATT DAMON) to track the fleeing Chaney. Despite their differences, their ruthless determination leads them on a perilous adventure that can only have one outcome: retribution.

The Coen Brothers no doubt have talent. It’s not that they can tell an interesting or unique story, because they can, but they don’t limit themselves to one genre as they pinball from dark comedy (The Hudsucker Proxy and Fargo), crime-comedy (The Big Lebowski, The Ladykillers, Burn After Reading), musical (O Brother, Where Art Thou?), romantic comedy (Intolerable Cruelty) and the Western (No Country for Old Men, albeit modern, and now, True Grit). They’ve had a wide variety of successes and failures – Ladykillers and Intolerable Cruelty didn’t quite hit the mark for me. Now with True Grit, they once again show they can remake a classic and still make it their own.

But like with their previous ventures, none of them would work without the often quirky performances of one or more of the cast members. Just as The Big Lebowski or Fargo would be forgettable if not for Jeff Bridges and Frances McDormand respectively, I suspect if not again for Bridges, this might’ve been just another remake to hit the wayside and be forgotten.

Now, for sure the young and relative newcomer Hailee Steinfeld packs a punch and for basically a kid actor, she wasn’t nearly as annoying as some of her counterparts of cinema past. Matt Damon also does an OK job with what is a limited role and often in the shadow of Bridges while Josh Brolin gets the thankless role as the killer who, once we do catch up with him, really has little to do and doesn’t nearly have the presence that I thought he would.

Overall, I can’t say The Coen Brothers hit a homerun or anything as the story doesn’t exactly make an emotional connection even during an end sequence which was effective only to end the film on a note that didn’t strike the chord I think they were after. Even so, like No Country for Old Men, it’s a beautiful looking movie and features two great performances, one serviceable performance and another merely disappointing one. I still give this a slight recommendation but any Coen fans out there I’m certain will enjoy the hell of it.

SPECIAL FEATURES – 3/5

The Blu-ray comes with a matted slip cover with the title on the front and sides embossed. In terms of the features, there’s not a whole lot with the featurettes dealing with the actual production totaling around 38-minutes.

Mattie’s True Grit (5:13; HD) featurette focuses on the young actress Hailee Steinfeld and has interview footage with her as she discusses her character and how she got the role. It also includes some of her audition footage as well.

From Bustles to Buckskin: Dressing for the 1880s (8:02; HD) – As you can imagine, this featurette covers the costume design and the research they went into to give it an authentic look and feel.

Colts, Winchesters & Remington’s: The Guns of a Post-Civil War Western (4:41; HD) is another short featurette with a central focus this time on the guns. Here we get comments from the property master and the research he did, taking it from the book.

Re-Creating Fort Smith (11:20; HD) – The featurette covers the set design of Fort Smith and here there’s more commentary from people on the crew and using some of the reference material such as photographs to re-create the town.

The Cast (5:25; HD) is your typical (i.e. boring) featurette where we are introduced to the cast and they gush over one another. In fairness, I guess it’s OK but you won’t learn a whole lot.

Charles Portis: The Greatest Writer You’ve Never Heard Of… (30:55; HD) – This is the lengthiest featurette, borderline documentary, which chronicles the life and times of Charles Portis and has interviews with those who have studied him (one calling him this era’s Mark Twain) and others who are fans.

The Cinematography of True Grit (2:57; HD) takes us through how the look was developed by multiple Oscar nominee Roger Deakins. It’s a short featurette but somewhat interesting.

Theatrical Trailer (2:33; HD)

 

Also included on the second disc is a DVD/Digital Copy.


VIDEO – 4.75/5

True Grit is presented with a great looking 1080p high-definition transfer and its original 2.39 aspect ratio. The picture as a whole looks fantastic with a wide array of colors from the dusty western motif to some more coloring in foliage. The detail level was also excellent from shrubbery to barns and buildings and the horses. The levels are so good, you can see every crusty wrinkly on Bridges’ face or the lines on his eye patch. All in all, it’s an excellent looking video transfer.

AUDIO – 4.5/5

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track meanwhile also doesn’t disappoint. Of course there is the occasional action sequence that will show off the track but it’s the quieter moments that also showcase some of the highlights like wind gusts, horses walking, etc. Gunfire has some depth to it while dialogue volume is good and easy to understand. I can’t quite say its demo material but it’s still impressive.



OVERALL – 3.75/5

While True Grit didn’t exactly enthrall me as it has others, it’s still a worthy effort thanks to the performances of Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld as well as the brilliant cinematography of Roger Deakins. The Blu-ray itself excels in the audio and video departments and although there’s a nice 30-minute documentary on writer Charles Portis, everything else falls short.

 

Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Published: 06/07/2011

 

Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2.

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