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PARAMOUNT

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Joel & Ethan Coen
Cast:
Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld
Writing Credits:
Joel & Ethan Coen Synopsis:
A stubborn teenager enlists the help of a tough US Marshal to track down her father's murderer.

Box Office:
Budget
$38 million.
Opening Weekend
$24,830,443 on 3047 screens.
Domestic Gross
$171,243,005.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Audio Description
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Portuguese
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 110 min.
Price: $9.99
Release Date: 6/7/2011

Bonus:
• “Mattie’s True Grit” Featurette
• “Dressing for the 1880s” Featurette
• “The Guns of a Post-Civil War Western” Featurette
• “Re-Creating Fort Smith” Featurette
• “The Case” Featurette
• “The Greatest Writer You’ve Never Heard Of” Featurette
• “The Cinematography of True Grit” Featurette
• Trailer
• DVD Copy


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RELATED REVIEWS


True Grit [Blu-Ray] (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 4, 2020)

Across their illustrious career, Joel and Ethan Coen touched on a lot of genres, but not Westerns. That changed in 2010 with True Grit.

A remake of the 1969 John Wayne film, Grit takes to Arkansas circa the 1880s, where hired hand Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) kills his employer Frank Ross. Frank’s 14-year-old daughter Mattie (Hailee Steinfeld) seeks revenge for this event.

This pursuit leads Mattie to Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), an aging, drunken US Marshal who she deems to have the “true grit” to do the job. Along with Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Matt Damon), the trio set out to find and deal with Chaney.

As I mentioned at the outset, Grit became the first Western from the Coens, and I recall that I felt surprised they’d adapt the property. Though I called this flick a remake, it may be more accurate to describe it as a “re-adaptation”, as it hews closer to the source novel than the 1969 film did.

In any case, it seemed like an odd choice for the Coens, though apparently audiences disagreed. Grit made $171 million in the US, a figure that made it their biggest hit by a wide margin, as it took in nearly $100 million more than its nearest competitor, 2007’s No Country for Old Men.

When viewed via worldwide grosses, those two come closer, as Country sold more tickets outside the US than did Grit. Still, the 2010 flick remains the Coens’ biggest success, and $171 million for a Western seems pretty remarkable no matter who made it.

As I tend to note when I review Coen flicks, I usually prefer their dramas to their comedies, and that holds true with Grit, as it presents an effective genre effort. Don’t expect a humorless affair, though, as the Coens infuse the movie with low-key laughs at times.

That’s usually acted as their MO, for the Coens veer toward dry humor over broad comedy, but I find these moments to work better in the dramatic context. When the Coens opt for pure comedy, they seem too infatuated with their own cleverness, but when they plop funny minutes in a more dramatic context, their attempts feel more natural.

These occasional amusing bits add a layer of charm to an enterprise that could easily turn melodramatic and sappy. The 1969 threatened to submerge under schmaltzy sentiment, but the 2010 version avoids those pitfalls.

Despite a synopsis that makes Grit sound like an action-oriented effort, it really tends more toward character interactions. With the primary trio of Cogburn, Mattie and LaBoeuf, we find three distinctive roles, and their moments become engaging.

All three teeter on the edge of caricature and parody, but they remain just believable enough to work. I wouldn’t call any of them totally realistic, but as executed here, they feel reasonably honest and worth the audience investment.

The actors help, and the cast of the 2010 Grit offers an enormous improvement over their 1969 counterparts. While Bridges and Damon offer definite upgrades over John Wayne and Glen Campbell, the biggest change comes with Mattie.

Kim Darby played that role in 1969 and became arguably the movie’s biggest weakness. On the page, Mattie circa 1969 and Mattie circa 2010 offer a virtually identical character, but Darby turned her into such a nagging little priss that I couldn’t stand her.

While Steinfeld easily could’ve fallen into the same trap, she doesn’t. She brings the necessary determination to Mattie along with the necessary warmth and humanity. Grit came as Steinfeld’s first feature, and she easily holds her own with her veteran co-stars.

All of these factors add up to a well-made and compelling Western. The Coens adapt to the format nicely and turn this into a winning effort.


The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

True Grit appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The film boasted fine visuals.

Sharpness worked well. While the occasional wide shot betrayed a sliver of softness, the majority of material appeared accurate and concise. No issues with moiré effects or jaggies occurred, and I saw neither edge haloes nor source flaws.

In this Western setting, the film favored an often amber/orange palette, with a fair amount of teal thrown in as well. Within the stylistic constraints, the Blu-ray reproduced the colors in a favorable manner.

Blacks came across as deep and dense, while shadows appeared smooth and well-developed. The movie offered pleasing picture quality.

Just as good, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio also satisfied. Music showed nice stereo presence, while effects added immersive material. The action sequences boasted fine use of the side and rear speakers, all of which brought us into the story well.

Audio quality seemed strong. Music was full and rich, while dialogue seemed natural and distinctive.

Effects offered clear elements, with warm, tight lows. Though not a consistently active affair, I still liked the soundtrack for Grit.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find seven featurettes. Mattie’s True Grit runs five minutes, 13 seconds and presents notes from actor Hailee Steinfeld.

She discusses her casting, her performance and aspects of her experiences on the shoot. Steinfeld seems mature beyond her age and makes this an informative discussion.

From Bustles to Buckskin spans eight minutes, two seconds and presents comments from costume designer Mary Zophres and actors Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and Barry Pepper. We learn about the movie’s costumes in this efficient and informative reel.

Next comes The Guns of a Post-Civil War Western, a four-minute, 41-second piece with property master Keith Walters. As implied by the title, we learn about the weapons used in the film via this enjoyable chat.

Re-Creating Fort Smith lasts 11 minutes, 20 seconds and includes remarks from executive producer Robert Graf, production designer Jess Gonchor, supervising art director Christy Wilson, train mechanic Steven Greathouse, train consultant Stan Garner and train owner Richard Grigsby.

As expected, we learn about sets and locations here. This turns into another satisfying program.

After this we get The Cast, a five-minute, 25-second segment with Bridges, Steinfeld, Damon, Pepper and actor Josh Brolin. They discuss cast and performances in this disappointingly superficial reel.

The Greatest Writer You’ve Never Heard Of takes up 30 minutes, 55 seconds and brings comments from literary editors William Whitworth and Marc Smirnoff, authors Roy Rosenbaum, George Pelecanos, Ed Park and Roy Blount, Jr., musician Dwight Yoakum, filmmaker Nora Ephron, publisher Peter Mayer, and friend/journalist Ernie Dumas.

Here we learn about the life and career of author Charles Portis, with some emphasis on Grit. Created for this circa 2011 Blu-ray, “Writer” shows its age since Ephron died in 2012 and Portis himself passed in early 2020.

Those jolts aside, “Writer” gives us a fairly good overview of Portis. It lacks a ton of depth but it acts as a suitable discussion.

Finally, The Cinematography of True Grit fills two minutes, 57 seconds with info from Damon, Graf, Bridges, and director of photography Roger Deakins. We get some notes about the movie’s photography but the reel seems far too short to tell us much.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Grit. It lacks any of the Blu-ray’s extras.

A new take on a famous property, the 2010 True Grit improves on the original 1969 film. Smart, well-acted and compelling, this becomes a solid Western. The Blu-ray brings very good picture along with positive audio and a mostly useful set of supplements. True Grit ends up as one of the best modern-day Westerns.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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