January 17, 2011
True Classic - True Grit
Normally I'm not a big fan of remakes if the original is a classic. Why mess with a good thing? I've never understood the need to take something beloved by many and redo it, sometimes to the point of being unrecognizable. It seems lazy. But today's remake was the rare exception.
I went in with an open mind, hoping for the best and having not seen the original in many years. I had it on good authority that this remake was one worth viewing, so my hopes were high. I was not disappointed. What made it even better, I went home and immediately watched the original version. Nothing against Mr. Wayne, an American icon to be certain, but the new version improved upon the old. It took away bits that were unnecessary, changed things that needed to be, and casting was dead on.
But I think what struck me most about the revamped version, what I most admired on the part of the actors and directors, was the ability of the actors to convey so much in subtle gestures or facial expressions. All it took sometimes was a look, a nod, a hand twitch for the audience to know exactly what was going through the character's mind. Subtle, and everyone got it. There was no need to overdo a scene or explain what was meant. They gave us credit for being intelligent people who would get it. That seems to be missing from so many movies and television shows these days.
Often I'll watch something and wonder why the creators, the writers, the directors think the American public is so simple that we won't get the subtleties they give us. Why do they feel the need to follow a brilliant scene with something that diminishes it by blatantly explaining what we just saw? Give us credit. We get it. So when a movie like True Grit comes along and the actors are allowed to really show how good they are at their craft, we appreciate it. This is why I'm hearing about the movie from so many people.
And there you have it, dear reader, my first movie recommendation on my blog. If you don't like westerns, you should give this one a try. If you're not a big Jeff Bridges fan, look past it. If you think two hours is too long to sit in a theater, OK, I'll give you that one, but you must see it when it's available on On Demand or DVD.