True Grit is a better movie than you expect it to be. And it's truly great.
It's not a remake but rather a reboot. A second adaptation of a 1968 bildungsroman by Charles Portis.
At first blush, this is not material you expect to be a right fit for the Cohen brothers (No Country for Old Men, Fargo).
There's Jeff Bridges in an eye-patch-wearing role first taken up by John Wayne. Bridges does not play Wayne here. He's Jeff Bridges playing Rooster Cogburn, a boozy hired vigilante with an apparent soft spot for little girls.
Also with a soft spot for little girls is Matt Damon, playing LaBoeuf, who, with Cogburn, hunt down the murderer of Hailee Steinfeld's dad. There are enough Freudian impulses going on here to easily take over what could have been a simple wild wild American west movie. Instead, the Cohen brothers go for edge, for character, beauty, intensity and, ultimately, the bittersweet and sublime.
It's like No Country for Old Men but with spanking! Unmissable.
FOUR STARS: ****