John Wayne played this role the way he has his entire career; playing John Wayne, which in this case, won him his first and only oscar. Now, having never been in a film or role similar to this, Bridges is not being typecast, he is playing Rooster Cogburn. Now, I am not faulting John Wayne’s acting, I am simply saying his impression of Cogburn is angry, drunk and gooey inside. Bridges plays Cogburn for what he is, a tainted drifter. Yet all this remains a moot point as his dialect is, in the most part, incomprehensible.
One thing I cannot fault the Coen Brothers on is their casting of Hailee Steinfeld. An unknown name, she fills the role with confidence, and unlike Darby plays a headstrong girl who has sidestepped the cute and nervous child that is seen is the original. She has a sharp tongue and a sharper wit, and manages to entirely regain the screen as the central point of the film where she deserves to be. Her strong brow does not falter as she sticks close to Mattie’s absolute sense of right or wrong. There is a dry humour running throughout, which is mostly embodied by little Mattie Ross, as she stands her ground and argues down all those who make the mistake of crossing her.
Out for revenge, Mattie Ross teams up with Rooster Cogburn in an attempt to track down the villain of the story Tom Chaney, the man accused of murdering her father. Mr LaBeouf, a Texas ranger takes it upon himself to join the party as he too is on the hunt for Chaney.