I was really psyched about this film a) because I love Westerns, b) it was by the Coen Brothers, c) Roger Deakins was shooting it & d) the cast was interesting. Going into the the theater, I had my expectations tempered by middling to sour reviews. Yes it landed on a few top ten lists, but it wasn’t getting the kind of buzz as some of the other juggernauts toward this end of year.
These days, when it comes to films I’m really excited for, I do my best to push my hopes down internally. I suppose ever since the Star Wars prequels got released, I learned my lesson.
That said, I didn’t like True Grit. I wasn’t majorly disappointed, but I wasn’t satisfied either. It’s great to look at and the performances were there, I suppose the story just fell flat. If it even got off the ground in the first place. The stakes weren’t really that high, nor were there moral battles being fought. No inner turmoil. Nothing riding on anything. At worst, a little girl and/or an old man died. At best, a murderer gets what he deserves. I think what got me, was the Coen’s earlier film No Country For Old Men. To me, that was more of a Western genre story than Grit was. From beginning to end.
I will agree that Hailee Steinfeld is an absolute gem and I look forward to her future work. I’m sort of stoked on Bridges’ performance, but only so much. It’s no one’s fault but his own, due to his history of stellar work. Barry Pepper was an excellent surprise, but was only barely in the damn thing. I wanted more! Josh Brolin's character was actually pretty refreshing in that he wasn't the badass tough guy he normally would've been typecast to play. Although, I kind of wanted to see him be a bad ass villain.
Which brings me to Matt Damon. Of all the actors in this thing, I was most interested in seeing his work. I loved what he did. His character wasn’t some normal everyday guy nor white bread role. He wasn’t a stone cold killer nor a straight-laced business man. I dug the fact that he was kind of cool, but also very square and foolish. Lately, Damon’s resume has become increasingly fascinating and I’m all for it. I’m rooting for him to do more varied work. I’d love to see him bring credibility to more outrageous roles, not just for himself, but for audiences in general. You can see he had fun doing the role and it paid off on-screen.