19 January 2011

True Grit

Written & Directed by: Ethan & Joel Coen
Full credits at IMDb

True Grit visits, at its very end, a Wild West show ca. 1903, where frontier life is, after just a few decades, already a joke—a commercialized circus. But we don't have to wait that long to see such a thing: this whole fucking movie plays the Wild West for cheap yuks. I guess what I mean is, the Coen Bros. are back to their old shit again here, indulging their worst instincts for hyuk hyuk goofery. Hoberman called this "one of the brothers' least facetious movies," but to me that sounds like calling one of the sisters in The Fighter the "least ugly". Brashly sketching broad types with an exaggerated sense of humor might have worked for 60s-era suburban Jews or contemporary DC bureaucrats—because then and now were strange and anxious times, and Jews and the political classes are so inherently wacky—but it doesn't for Old West archetypes. It never does: I can't think of a(n American) Western-comedy that was any good, can you?

Keep reading my conversation with Benjamin Sutton at The L Magazine

Watch the trailer:

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