True Grit - Lòng quả cảm
Trong thời buổi những phim mang thể loại sci-fi hay thể loại chuyển thể từ truyện tranh đang vượt trội như hiện nay thì việc cho ra đời một phim cao bồi (western) thật không hợp thời. Cái tư duy đề cao chủ nghĩa anh hùng cũ kỹ, câu chuyện và tính cách nhân vật đơn điệu của phim cao bồi không còn là thứ thời thượng và được ưa chuộng nữa. Tuy vậy, những nhà làm phim ở Hollywood vẫn không thể quên được thể loại phim từng làm mưa làm gió trong quá khứ này. Ta vẫn thấy lác đác những phim cao bồi đáng chú ý ra mắt trong những năm gần đây như 3:10 to Yuma, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Appaloosa. Ngay cả những phim không mang bối cảnh của thể loại cao bồi nhưng vẫn mang dáng dấp thể loại này như Inglourious Basterd của Quentin Tarantino hay The Book of Eli của anh em đạo diễn nhà Hughes. Đối với anh em đạo diễn nổi tiếng Joel và Ethan Coen, dường như phim cao bồi luôn luôn là đề tài ưa thích. Nếu đã xem Fargo hay No Country For Old Men (phim đoạt giải Oscar phim hay nhất năm 2008) của họ thì người xem có thể thấy thấp thoáng đâu đó những tính chất đặc trưng của phim cao bồi mặc dù những phim này không hẳn mang bối cảnh cao bồi. Trái lại, bộ phim mới nhất True Grit lại là một phim cao bồi thuần tuý của anh em đạo diễn trứ danh này.
A Reply From the Coen Brothers
Due to the lack of response from the Coen brothers regarding my first post, I have taken the liberty of replying on their behalf.
First and foremost may we congratulate you on your elegant prose and articulate reasoning, it isn’t often in our line of work that we get to see a young man such as yourself write so eloquently. That being said, where do you get off critiquing our films? Not only are you not involved in the industry in any way shape or form, but it would appear you lack even a cursory understanding of the process of evaluating a film’s merit.
You have chosen to focus upon, rather than fundamentals of storytelling, cinematography, character development or any number of relevant factors, an arbitrary and infrequent fabrication of your own creation to judge the merit of our films. I mean, in all seriousness, did you really expect us to take time out of our hectic film schedule (True Grit 2: the Re-Understandaning) to address your wild accusations of follicular irresponsibilty? Young man, you ask too much.
You can’t just go around comparing Woody to Satan with reckless abandon, for God’s sakes my daughter is in the other room. If she had stumbled upon your post and given even a sideways glance at your heretical jibberish my wife would have made me sleep in the garage. One time I woke up to night-pee and I found the car running. I ran to unlock the door to the house only to find a shovel and bucket of lye placed deliberately in front. I had to fashion myself a makeshift gasmask using my son’s bong and a screenplay for Black Swan I use as a grease rag.
In addition, Nicholas Cage is a fine actor and we were determined to have him play the role of Tom Chaney in True Grit, but he insisted upon playing the role of Mattie Ross sans negotiation. Upon questioning him, the only “reasons” we ever got were the words “final frontier” and “goddamn keratin deficiency”. He insisted upon looking us (both) in the eye as he said it and it was more of a murmur than anything. His voice is so musky…. upon realizing he had a raging erection we had no choice but to give the whole cast and crew the day off. He was so determined that he showed up on set in a dress. The movie was already in theatres.
To sully Tom Hanks and George Clooney is to sully two of the finest actors on the face of the Earth. Were it not for Tom Hanks’ stirring performance in Cast Away, I would not have been inspired for my new screenplay. It features three intrepid explorers searching for tigers at an abandoned Belorussian mine who discover a bicycle standing unsupported upon a patch of wild daisies. Only the worthiest of the trio can ride it you see, as he put on his pants both legs at the same time that very morning. Upon straddling the magnificent steel steed, he immediately enters a wormhole through space and time and finds himself impregnating a dinosaur. The dinobaby born as a result of their unholy union serves as the direct ancestor to the human crotchspawn who later becomes Tom Hanks, who then discovers his hidden Repto-DNA in his role as Prof. Curt Connors in the Spider-Man musical. Upon rampaging and slaughtering every man, woman, and child in attendance at the show he then eats Aaron Sorkin and the entire supporting cast of Cheers before self-destructing into a shower of asexually reproducing dino-sperms who serve as the stars in the long-awaited modern-day Godzilla sequel starring Matthew Broderick. Imagine an army of dinosaurs saying “there’s a snake in my boots”. Shit, every time I talk about it I get so excited. One time, we had no choice but to send everybody home lest I receive another sexual harassment charge from the lady who wires my microphone. And without George Clooney’s role in The American, I might have forgotten to take my Metamucil that afternoon. What I’m saying is the movie is shit.
But now it is I who digress….es. Your post was bunk. You were just shamelessly trolling our movies to achieve what, I don’t know. You had literally zero followers and your blog looks like it was designed by a white supremacist. Seriously, did colours pick on you as a child? Live a little why don’t you.
To conclude, we are actually both very sorry about Richard Jenkins. We only realized after we had finished the film that he was even in it as we were both concerned over Brad Pitt’s guylights. Truthfully my brother and I have been smoking meth-amphetamines ever since we discovered my son smokes pot. His bongwater kept me alive overnight from my horrible wife and it’s something I live with every day. I’m sorry about your neighbours dog.
Joel & Ethan Coen
True Grit (2010) Review: 4.5/5
This review was a long time coming. I had heard about the wonder of True Grit from my friend Luke and was instantly excited. As a fan of classic film and westerns, I felt it was my duty to see if this movie was on the up and up. In short, it was. True Grit is an almost line for line remake of the 1969 version which was surprisingly refreshing, unlike most remakes. Jeff Bridges delivered a wonderful performance as the almost-constantly drunk Marshall, as did Matt Damon as the odd, rough-around-the-edges Texas Ranger. A new face, Hailee Steinfeld was actually believable, gritty and likeable as Mattie Ross.
The old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The original True Grit was definitely not “broke.” The Coen brothers did not abide by that saying, however there are exceptions to everything. This is one exception I would be glad to accept.
2011 #7 - True Grit
So True Grit, the new offering from the much revered Coen Brothers, has been released and I was excited to see it. It has been nominated for 10 awards at the upcoming Oscars including best actor (Jeff Bridges), best supporting actress (Hailee Steinfeld), best director (the Coen brothers) and best film. So considering the hype and my love for previous Coen brothers films I left the cinema feeling somewhat disappointed.
The film stars newcomer Hailee Steinfeld as smart youngster Mattie Ross who is out to avenge the shooting of her father. She uses some smart dialogue to convince experienced Marshall Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to take the job of tracking down said shooter. Joining them on the hunt is Texas Ranger LaBeouf (Matt Damon) who is after the shooter, Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), for a different crime.
That is about as much story as you need to know because the hunt and capture is all there is. Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart, The Big Lebowski) plays the part of Rooster excellently, when you can understand what he’s saying that is, and deservedly has been congratulated for his part in the movie. The same can be said for young Steinfeld who certainly makes an impact in her first feature film with a confident performance.
Unfortunately Matt Damon (The Departed, The Bourne Identity) and Josh Brolin (Milk, American Gangster) don’t have enough to do for their performances to be discussed. For the latter that’s a shame because developing Brolin’s character might have made me care whether he was caught or not which ultimately I didn’t. As for Damon nothing about his performance or his character leave you needing to know more.
I don’t want to say it was boring but there was certainly a few occasions where I found myself looking at the ceiling, a tell tale sign I’m not being entertained. In typical Coen brothers fashion the setting looked fantastic and it was wonderfully shot but there just wasn’t enough to the story to leave a lasting impression. There is also a thimble full of traditional Coen brothers humour which is welcomed but leaves you wanting more.
The relationship between Rooster and young Mattie is somewhat believable and that does hold the key to the movie. However for some reason in the conclusion that relationship accelerates to something more which comes too quickly. We are then treated to an unnecessary and messy epilogue that doesn’t affect the way you felt about any of the characters in the movie and only served on disappointing me more.
This film has gathered a lot of 5 star reviews and although the setting and performances were good I can’t help thinking that just because this is a Coen brothers film it has snared an extra star or two more than it deserves.
looks great, performances on a whole are very good with a wonderful setting. Story and pace lets it down.