True Grit Review

Figure 1: Poster (2010)

True Grit (2010) Directed by the Coen Brothers (Joel and Ethan Coen). It’s a western film about a girl named Mattie, who wants to avenge the death of her father.

Act 1

The film opens with exposition in the form of a story, told by Mattie (Hailee Steinfeld). The story gives the viewer all the necessary information quickly, like the rough date and setting. During the story the name Tom Chaney is thrown out, it is then revealed that he is her father’s killer. The inciting incident can be broken down into two parts. The first part is Mattie showing her intelligence and selling useless horses, to the person her father bought them from before his death. It is at this point we are shown how ruthless Mattie can be. The second part is the court case where Mattie sees Marshal Cogburn(Jeff Bridges), after hearing his testament, she is sure he is the ruthless killer she needs to avenge her father.

The First plot point revolves around Mattie being insistent on joining the adventure, she wants to see that her father is avenged correctly (she wants to kill his killer). Cogburn and Laboeuf do not want to bring her along and attempt to leave without her. Mattie realizes quickly and catches up too them, she then shows how committed she is, by crossing a large river on her horse to reach the pair, when she reaches the other side Cogburn decides she can tag along.

Act 2

The main obstacle is Laboeuf, firstly he did not want Mattie joining because he feared for her safety, showing his parental nature by spanking her earlier in the story. The only reason he initially allowed her to join, is because Cogburn threatened him with a gun. After falling out with the group, Laboeuf leaves to Find Tom on his own, this is problematic for Mattie, as he intends to take Tom to Texas. Mattie is against this as she intends to see her own justice carried out on Tom. 

The midpoint shows the rising complexity of the story. Cogburn and Mattie find a shack and take the outlaws inside captive. One of the outlaws is wounded by Cogburn and needs medical attention, Cogburn uses this to force information out of him. He gets enough information before the wounded man is attacked by his ally and left for dead. Cogburn kills his ally and listens to the wounded man’s last request, the man then dies. The information they got is very useful, they found out that Tom and other fugitives are coming to that shack. Cogburn and Mattie set up an ambush to catch the fugitives off guard, but their plan is foiled by an unwitting Laboeuf. Tom was not among the four fugitives, Cogburn kills three fugitives, and one escapes too quickly. Injured by a stray bullet, Laboeuf is forced to re-join the group.

The second plot point has the group giving up on the hunt for Tom. Cogburn and Laboeuf part ways again, Mattie ventures to a river and happens to find Tom, after exchanging some words she shoots him, although the shot is not fatal. Tom goes to attack her, but is stopped by his leader. Cogburn finds them, he is told that if he leaves Mattie won’t be harmed, he listens and leaves. The leader decides that they should get going, but they do not have enough horses so Tom is left behind; alone with Mattie. Angry at the situation Tom decides to kill her, but Laboeuf appears and knocks Tom out. Laboeuf Checks to see if Mattie is safe, then helps Cogburn by shooting the leader of the fugitives. 

The climax shows Tom knocking Laboeuf out, but Mattie Grabs laboeuf's gun. Mattie then shouts “stand up Tom Chaney” and shoots him off the Cliff. The climax leads right to the twist, in which Mattie falls down into a cavern, and is unable to move. there She finds a skeleton filled with snakes. Cogburn comes to save her, but it is too late as one of the snakes has bitten her hand. Cogburn scares them away and tries to get some of the venom out. Cogburn acts fast and tries to get Mattie to a doctor before the venom kills her, grabbing the fastest horse. After the horse dies he carries her to a town and yells for help. 

Act 3

The resolution takes place years in the future, it is revealed that Mattie is still alive, but has lost the arm that the snake bit. She has not seen Cogburn, because he left while she was recovering. She has been waiting for an opportunity to give him the $50 she owes him. She gets a letter from him, saying he works at a traveling show, and also the location of their next venue. She goes to the venue to be reunited with her old friend, but when she gets there she finds out she was too late, he had died three days before she got there. Mattie decides to take his body and buries it somewhere she can visit. The film ends with Mattie walking away from Cogburn's grave, as she talks about her life.

The film follows the three act structure very well, although it was not completely clear at the first viewing. Its tells the story well using the three act structure and overall is a good film. 

illustration list

Figure 1: Poster (2010)[poster]:at (accessed on 22/10/2015) 


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