The classic western has always been popular with American moviegoers, as it encompasses so many of the elements that make movies a good experience, while still grasping the spirit of the freedom that makes it fun. “True Grit,” starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and Hailee Steinfeld, is no different. In an age when conspiracy theories, fast-paced gun fights, and mind-bending alternate realities are what reach the top of the blockbuster charts, “True Grit” reminds us of a time when life was simpler and decidedly more definite. What you see is what you get.
This modern rethinking of the original “True Grit” of 1969 does justice to the name, as well as the actor that made it great. John Wayne is responsible for the movie that defined, in the minds of many of us, what a western really is. Jeff Bridges, while certainly no John Wayne, leaves nothing to be desired when it comes to crotchety old, gun-slinging, whiskey-swigging cowboys. The gritty, hard-bitten realities of life in the old west have not been kind to this man, and his general demeanor throughout the movie attest to this fact.
Nothing comes easy in the wild west, and you could as easily be shot in the back as walk to church on Sunday morning. Mattie Ross is bent on finding and killing the man who shot her father in cold blood, but no one really cares to help her. Using her remarkable skills of persuasion and cold-hard cash, Mattie convinces the meanest, roughest, stick-in-the-mud US Marshal she can find to help her get the bastard who killed her father. She will not rest until she brings him to justice.
While this movie-going experience is not for the faint of heart, it promises to engage the senses in the way movies have not for many years. It really is a nice step back in time, with perhaps better acting than was customary 40 years ago, with superb performances from Matt Damon and Hallie Steinfeld. Not to say anything against a legend, but if you liked John Wayne, you will like Jeff Bridges. “True Grit” did not disappoint, and held true to the grit of the old west.