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True Grit

2010 (Joel and Ethan Coen) 14A, 109 minutes

Hailee Stanfield, Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin

Falling somewhere between solar eclipses and funny Saturday Night Live sketches on the rareness spectrum, you will find film-remakes-that-surpass-their-original. From John McTiernan’s embarrassingly awful Rollerball to Gus Van Sant’s pointless shot-for-shot retread of Psycho, the remake is almost always a terrible idea. Thankfully, the Coen Borthers don’t seem to know the meaning of ‘terrible idea,’ and thank goodness for that. They pull off a small miracle with True Grit, a remake of the 1969 western that finally nabbed John Wayne the Oscar that eluded him for so many years.

While much loved, the original film is not without its faults: Kim Darby was six years too old to play outspoken teen Mattie Ross, the tone oscillated awkwardly between light comedy and tragedy, and the less said about Glen Campbell’s performance the better. True Grit circa 2010 fixes all these problems and finds that perfect balance of humour and gravitas that its predecessor lacked. While the story might seem dark and ominous—a young girl hires a U.S. Marshall to track down her father’s murderer—there is a lot of humour and honest emotion. True Grit is one of the best films of 2010.

Andrew Patterson

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