Sunday, January 16, 2011

True Grit (Henry Hathaway)

The 'Duke' as Rooster Cogburn.

Film Review Archive (date seen: November 1, 2010)

The first thing that inspired me to see this film was John Wayne's Oscar-winning performance that supposedly toppled both Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight's in "Midnight Cowboy". Then the second was the fact that the Coens remade the film with an all-star cast.

It is indeed a great film as a whole, and though I thought there's no way that "The Duke" has won an Oscar for the role, his oozing legendary persona is just too immense to neglect, and the genre that this film belongs and its foundations whom he helped to build is just too colorful to pass.

"True Grit", for me, is one of the quintessential films to portray the pure "western wonder" before the genre's choice to delve into much more realistic territories. It contains a dark and conflicted theme of 'revenge' and turned it into a pleasurable piece of high adventure and a delightful cinematic display of human bond. Granted, this is John Wayne's well-known "swan song" to both the western genre and his illustrious film career as a whole, but I'll also remember this film as an early project for Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper, who both had great careers afterwards.

"The strangest trio to ever track a killer", the tagline used to say, and yes, I agree, gun-toting and experience-wise, it's perfectly imperfectly balanced, but as a circle of people brought into camaraderie by the path of a killer, it's a superlative chemistry to beat.


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