The real reason to see the film is the work of the Coens' regular collaborators, cinematographer Roger Deakins and composer Carter Burwell, who supply the visual and auditory landscapes that are True Grit's most notable achievement.
Some people are expressing amazement that Joel and Ethan Coen would set out to make a classic western in the first place, and then that they'd accomplish it. All I can say is that those folks haven't been paying attention.
In choosing not to reinvent the wagon wheel with True Grit, the Coens ironically seem radical by being conformists. There's truth and beauty in their faithfulness, though, and a reminder never to presume too much about these sibling ciphers.
Joel and Ethan Coen have pulled off an impressive feat: repurposing a classic film with their idiosyncratic blend of dark, deadpan humor and palpable suspense, while remaining ultra-faithful to the novel.
The Coens, who like to play with genre, often with giggles and winks, haven't mounted an assault on the western. But in Mattie they have created a character whose single-minded pursuit of vengeance has unmistakable resonance.
It's sort of a screwball Western, if you will, with vivid performances and strikingly vast, picturesque vistas, the always gorgeous work of the always great Roger Deakins, the Coens' frequent cinematographer.
It's hard to imagine bigger boots to fill than the ones that earned John Wayne his Oscar in True Grit, and yet Jeff Bridges handily reinvents the iconic role of Rooster Cogburn in the Coen brothers' back-to-the-book remake.