Monday, December 27, 2010

A Grittier "True Grit"

I saw the Coen Brothers version of True Grit yesterday, and enjoyed it a lot. As I suspected, it was very similar to the John Wayne movie; the same characters, the same plot, and many of the same dialog lines. There were some differences in the story, but the plot was essentially the same.

This movie seemed visually a lot richer and more detailed than the original - the locations looked more authentic and less like movie sets. Jeff Bridges was much harder to understand at points than John Wayne was, while Matt Damon's performance as LaBoeuf gave Bridges less chance to steal the entire movie. If you liked the original movie, or like westerns in general, you'll enjoy this movie.

I do have one complaint though; I found the color grading of the movie somewhat annoying; a lot of it was very washed out. The Coen's seem to like to manipulate their movies - O Brother, Where Art Thou? was the first movie digitally graded and had a very yellow look, while their movie A Serious Man was graded to look like an old 60's movie. I liked those, but found the effect in True Grit more disconcerting. I can't explain why.

I was also a little surprised that - less than four days after release - the print we saw was damaged in at least one place. I suspect the problem was in the production of the print itself, as there was some noticeable color flickering and a dark flash at one point in the movie.


About the Blogger said...

I saw the film and couldn't agree more -- the colors looked washed out. This worked in Saving Private Ryan, but not here for some reason. I also noticed the same strange color flickers at points in the film and thought something must be wrong with the print. This theater was in New Jersey.


Michael Murie said...

Thanks for the additional data point; I saw it several miles away in Cambridge, MA.

Unknown said...

I noticed the washed-out color here at a theater in LA. I assumed it was a grading issue, too, but I couldn't understand how/why the Coens approved of it. It was like the gamma was too high throughout the entire film.