‘They say you are a man with true grit’:1

True Grit, a classic. I grew up with John Wayne splashed across the television always either atop a horse or brandishing a gun. So, having seen the original True Grit countless times, it is needless to say I was very uneasy when I heard the Coen Brothers were planning a remake. After expecting to be sourly disappointed, I was proven wrong. The Coen Brothers have created a darker, harsher version that stays closer to the 1964 book.

Mattie Ross, the narrator and central character is a strong-minded, wily fourteen year old who has set out to avenge her father’s death. Played by Kim Darby in the 1969 version, her character is a tough humorless farm girl who leans towards being slightly erratic in her emotional states. Despite being written as the main character, she is overshadowed by John Wayne’s rustic charm and his ease in the role. When I consider the 2010 version, I am split on the casting choices. Jeff Bridges lives up to the expectations of him, as following in Wayne footsteps would be a daunting prospect. He has a much more mysterious and sombre way about him; Wayne portrays a warm-hearted soul who has been tarnished by the harsh ways of the west and drink. Bridges however, adds more intricate layers to the character. His portrayal of Rooster Cogburn is a much harsher one, which sees the Marshall as rough and corrupt as the men he is tracking.


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