Gritless

True Grit (2010)

(contains spoilers – you have been warned.)

I’m going to need some help with this one people. This movie was brilliant, poignant, well scripted and ended in such a stunning wave of uninspiring melancholy that I almost felt like shedding a few tears of hopelessness.

No, I wasn’t about to pierce my face sixty-seven times and dye my hair black (it wouldn’t have been appropriate for a period piece) but such a bleak end to a film whose underlying theme (up until that point anyway) had been the hope of a quest fulfilled surely destroyed part of the magic. Then again revenge was the main point, which is a rather backward and vain hope. Edmond Dante’s taught us that. Revenge, doesn’t actually feel that good. Perhaps that is why the movie is such a glorious and inane let down. After all of her brilliance, her aptitude for managing people, her skill in language and more, Mattie Ross’ insatiable quest for the Coward Tom Chaney lands her in an amputee ward. For what? The film portrays Chaney as he is described, a coward.

Was it worth it?

He would have died out there anyway in all probability. Surely this was not the point of this story? Where is the redemption? Do the good guys win? No. One goes back to Texas with a speech impediment. One joins the Wild West Show and the other becomes a spinster.

True, I have not seen the original. However, I have seen many other John Wayne films and I can only hope that it was better than this gritless piece.

Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon were great and the fact that they were playing off beat and fairly original characters made this movie fun, if not interesting, to watch. Hailee Steinfeld was brilliant. That is, until she fell down the snake hole after shooting her nemesis off a cliff…

The script work was superb as well. The whole atmosphere of progress and properness spoke of a time where people wanted to appear educated. Wanted to fit in. Wanted to conform to a standard they didn’t set themselves. In contrast to today where individuality is worshipped and antiestablishmentarianism is rife among those who benefit most from the establishments they try to tear down.

In short, this is a pretty good movie yet you will likely find yourself wanting a little more than what is presented. In the words of the adult Mattie Ross, ‘You pay for everything in this world. There is nothing free, except the grace of God.’ You pay to see this movie and by the grace of God, you might enjoy it. Enjoying it is free. Working out what is going on is a little harder.

What do you think?

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