(15) 110mins

Wednesday, 16th February 2011, 10:29 am

Directors: Ethan and Joel Coen

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld, Josh Brolin

IT’S always a tricky task re-shooting a well known movie - so why bother, you might ask?

In this case it’s because the Coen brothers have gone back to the original book and come up with a far more realistic and, yes, grittier tale than the John Wayne version.

It’s a wild west where public hangings are the norm and where life is cheap and under threat. The story revolves round teenager Mattie Ross (Steinfeld) who has travelled from a nearby county to reclaim her father’s body, shot by outlaw Tom Chaney (Brolin).

She also wants vengeance and enlists the services of Reuben ‘Rooster’ Cogburn (Bridges). Also out to capture Chaney is Texas Marshall LaBeouf (Damon).

What follows is an often touching, violent adventure in which the three come to appreciate each other’s strengths.

The character of Mattie needed a strong and quality bit of acting and in Steinfeld the Coen brothers struck gold.

Mattie is tough as old boots in her bargaining skills, but Hailee also shows the other side of the character - a young girl in an ‘alien’ and tough world.

Bridges gives his version of Cogburn more depth and compassion while LaBeouf has a proper role to play - I’m not really sure why singer Glen Campbell was cast in the original.

Another main part of the movie is the sweeping landscapes which work best on the big screen. Add to the mix a great soundtrack and you have a darn good movie.

Without giving anything away, the film’s ending is excellent because it is believeable, no Hollywood gloss, just stark facts that fit in with the story.

So overall it’s a good film that leaves the original in its wake.

four out of five stars

Steve Payne

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley