True Grit (2010)
Potentially a musing not on God’s justice but, rather, God's mercy, the Coens’ take on the story of True Grit
is a multi-layered improvement on the previous John Wayne vehicle.
From the opening text from Proverbs to the final, lingering closing shot, accompanied by mostly instrumental-only versions of old hymns, the Coens' take on the True Grit
story isn't about revenge but, rather, living in a space where humanity is allowed to strive for balance.
But there's a smart sense of humor here as the 3 very different characters play out this "extra" reality. Bridges is, yet again, incredibly solid and Damon is a great foil for him. But full credit is due to newcomer as Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross who has to carry the majority of the film. She's just exceptional, showing drive and determination while also allowing the audience to witness the loss of innocence as she crosses over to this side of the world, forever changed, forever marked.
The performances here are all rock-solid, especially Bridges as Cogburn and Steinfeld as Mattie. Carter Burwell’s hymn-inspired score and fantastic cinematography yet again from Roger Deakins add greatly to the mood of sparseness where characters seem to be on the fringes of moral existence, held only by their certainty in the rightness of their actions.