Filling big shoes takes “True Grit”

Photo courtesy of Paramount PICTURES Jeff Bridges, left, and Hailee Steinfeld in "True Grit"

By Charlie SHELTON

So this far, Jeff Bridges has been a computer genius in the world of TRON, fought with King Kong, been an alien (TRON again), The Dude, and now he’s a cowboy. Jeff Bridges is officially the most awesome man of all time.

In “True Grit,” Bridges hits the big screen once again, this time taking over a role originally played by the Duke, John Wayne – Rooster Cogburn. When hard drinking, hard fighting, down on his luck U.S Marshall Cogburn is hired by 14-year-old Mattie (Hailee Steinfeld) to find her father’s murderer Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), he signs on for the ride of his life.

Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Matt Damon) has been tracking Chaney for some time, and he joins up with Cogburn and Mattie to track him down in one final push. This is a great Old West tale that will surely receive Academy interest come Oscar time.

Jeff Bridges, as always, is amazing. He can play several different characters in his career but always has that feel of Jeff Bridges. After being snubbed by the Academy for many, many years, he finally received recognition last year for his role in Crazy Heart, winning a much-deserved Best Actor award. It is possible that he will receive another nomination this year for True Grit.

His costar Steinfeld may also garner some attention. She was fantastic. Playing a 14-year-old with the mind and intellect of an adult was impressive for a breakout star. Even Josh Brolin, who usually leaves this reporter wanting, pulled through and gave an interesting performance. And then, of course, there is Matt Damon.

Matt Damon was there to louse up the rest of the film. Matt Damon is always Matt Damon. Last time we saw him, he was Matt Damon with a South African accent in “Invictus.” Before that, he was Matt Damon in a Jason Bourne costume. This time he was Matt Damon in a mustache. Matt Damon is always Matt Damon. There’s not much you can do to cover that up. But Matt Damon worked well with Rooster Cogburn and Mattie, making for good chemistry and a good feel for the whole movie through.

Add into this some picturesque scenery, a sparse but fitting soundtrack, and fantastic direction by the Coen brothers, and you’ve got yourself a pretty good movie – possibly the best of 2010.

Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of western violence including disturbing images. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars.