The first 45 minutes of “True Grit”, the latest Oscar fodder from academy favorites Joel and Ethan Coen are brilliant. The dialogue is witty, the script engrossing and the acting superb. I was incredibly impressed by what I was seeing on the screen in front of me and saw why the Coen brothers were held in such high regard (for some reason I’ve just never gotten around to watching man of their films).
However, as the film enters its second half, the story just kind of fizzles out; it loses its edge. I found the closing scenes very clichéd and the film just seems to drudge to its finale. If “True Grit” managed to retain the vitality of its opening it would be a masterpiece. However, it doesn’t and I found the closing half an hour rather lackluster.
Don’t get me wrong,theres still plenty to love about “True Grit”. The acting remains outstanding throughout the duration of the film. Jeff Bridges at his coolest and best as the one eyed Rooster Cogburn and if Hailee Steinfeld doesn’t get an Oscar nod for her debut performance as the hard as nails Mattie Ross, I’ll be mightily peeved. A Special mention must also go to Dakin Matthews, who I thought was excellent as Colonel Stonehill in the horse bartering scene (one of my favorite scenes in the movie).The only actor I was disappointed with was Matt Damon, who came across much better in the trailer than he does in the movie.
I found the amount of humor in “True Grit” pretty surprising. I expected it to be much more serious in tone but I found myself laughing the whole way through and the humor really adds to the film. I was also ver impressed with some of the cinematography in the film, especially the opening scene, and the Coen brothers beautifully capture the essence of the Wild West.
As you can probably tell, I really enjoyed True Grit. However, as I mentioned, it just seems to fizzel out in the last 30 or so minutes and I couldn’t help feeling a bit disappointed when leaving the cinema. “True Grit” is definitely worth a watch but it could, and should, have been a lot better.