*Warning: Here be spoilers for True Grit. Do not read the review if you do not want the movie ruined for you*
Some people may not consider the Old West to be Victorian in any aspect. Why?
- Although tales of the Old West always take place in Victorian times (roughly 1837-1901, the reign of Queen Victoria), some people may not consider them truly Victorian because they don't take place in Victorian England.
- The characters of the Old West are not really Victorian characters in a socially acceptable way. They are, more often than not, nitty, gritty individuals scratching out a living in dangerous lands--not the gentlemen or women of London, who are more concerned with whitening the front stoop every morning or following socially accepted rules on wearing mourning clothes when a loved one dies.
On Saturday night I went to see the Coen Brothers film True Grit, starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and Hailee Steinfeld. I had never seen the John Wayne original, so I had no idea what to expect.
There are a few things to be said about the movie. It was a good Western. The plot and characters were sound, the story did not revolve around the action portrayed in gunfights as it did on character development (which is what made Unforgiven such a great Western), and the ending resulted in how it normally does in Western's- the main character reached her goal, maybe sadder and wiser, but without regrets.
|image source: MovieTrailers.com|
But it was not a great movie. It was rather formulaic as Westerns go (here I have High Plains Drifter, The Outlaw Josey Wales, and Unforgiven)- the main character vows revenge on an outlaw who either killed someone close to them, or just deserves to die, they take a journey to find out where the person is, there are a few amazing gunfights, and the person reaches their goal. Keep in mind that there are several other Western "formulas," such as the outlaw who seeks revenge against another outlaw or a bad lawman, or the reformed outlaw who avoids lawmen or others seeking revenge.
It wasn't breaking fresh ground in the genre. Being a remake, it's hard to see how it could have broken fresh ground. I was actually a bit disappointed when I found out that the Coen Brothers had made this movie, as it was completely unlike the many remarkable movies that they have made in the past. It was mediocre for a Coen Brothers movie.
If you like Westerns, this one won't disappoint. But if you want to see something breaking the mold, try another movie.