True Grit | Netflix
Who the hell were those guys, and why did Maddie Ross call the seated one " trash?" I realize they must have been affiliated with or related to. The correlations denoting political/history allegory probably end there, at least The world of True Grit, set in the post-Civil War American Southwest, has the implicit relationship with the budding and ageless world beyond the fences. .. she utters to Frank James, "Keep your seat, trash" before leaving. (Clips from “True Grit” ( version and version) play out as NC speaks) score from each of the films, ending with the title card “True Grit () vs. . For example, we do see the relationship—though brief—between Mattie and her . Twister · Garbage Pail Kids · Rock-A-Doodle · Titanic - The Legend Goes On.
Acting becomes an important element in True Grit, as well as a commentary on the Western genre and how we may react to the uneasy position this film finds itself in, being that it's a remake of a film that won "The Duke" his Oscar, and as such will be seen by fans of the genre as blasphemy against John Wayne.
The appeal of John Wayne has much to do with the tough talk and poise of this Hollywood icon, extending beyond movies into politics and day-to-day behavior for how men should act and how women should respond to those men.
Wayne won his Oscar for True Grit, but not for his acting ability. It was a lifetime achievement of sorts during a time — — when the Duke's reputation was up in the air, given the torrid politics of the time and how transparently weak and unexamined those politics were, as displayed in Wayne's pro-Vietnam propaganda, The Green Berets. Some critics and commentators think remaking John Wayne, as the Coens have done, is blasphemy. But they are not aware of how John Wayne is untouchable not because of the talent and content of whomever he was, but because Wayne is an ideology unto himself, representing a poise that so many of us wish to emulate.
But that's the problem of the Western genre, if not human nature. Tough talk, posturing, style, big spurs and big guns are not necessarily reflective of the actual nature of a person or a situation.
John Wayne is Rooster Cockburn, because he's a good storyteller just as he's a good bullshitter. But the character, I believe, demands the complexity of an actor's actor, being that this is consciously a story about performance, and Rooster, unlike LeBoeuf, is in on the rouse of tough guys and their talk. LeBoeuf tells campfire stories about being a Texas Ranger and having to drink out of hoof prints to stave off thirst.
Rooster mocks LeBoeuf, who asks, "Do you not believe me?True Grit Ending
LeBoeuf derides Rooster's "keen tongue," and another spat of references and accomplishments begins talk about accomplishment instead of something we can see — the grit.
The parley of role-playing and performance is picked up by Mattie, who eases the argument by suggesting the three of them play "The Midnight Caller," where one of the two men are to play the "Caller" and she will tell them both what to say.
At this stage in this remake of a "classic" the film is hardly a classicthe perceptive audience member will note how well the Coens and company are jesting about the posturing featured in so many other Westerns. Later on, we'll see an absolutely absurd — and hilarious — confrontation between Cockburn and LeBoeuf as they shoot at cornbread to determine who is the more talented lawman. Even the corporeal flesh and blood punishment of the most gruesome nature — Rooster offers to flay Chaney's feet for Mattie, after which she can rub pepper in the wound — is inconsequential to the demands of the contractual language.
The spat leads to LeBoeuf ending his alliance with Rooster. When Mattie and Rooster go off in the woods, we notice how much Rooster seems to love telling stories about himself, though of course we can never be sure about their accuracy. Mattie may not even be listening, but on and on Rooster drawls, Jeff Bridges playing him with a vocalization not so different from Billy Bob Thornton's in Sling Blade, a choice that I believe was lovingly embraced by the Coens.
Again, we note the connections between words and primal human relationships when Rooster casually talks about his estranged son, who apparently doesn't like the old man.
It's funny to note the amount of times speaking — or just mouths — are referenced in True Grit. We learn that the man who was guarding Frank Ross' horse had his "teeth knocked out" by Chaney; the hanged Indian at the beginning, forbidden from speaking, is named Tongue in the Rain; early on, LeBoeuf says to Mattie in response to an insult, "A saucy line will not get you far with me," and then "You give out very little sugar in your mouth"; a man in a bear suit named Forrester, who comes upon Mattie and Rooster, claims to study dentistry, and offers to bargain the hanged man's body acquired in a trade from the Indian Rooster and Mattie came upon earlierthough adding, "I have removed his teeth.
True Grit has a lot of dismemberment — arms, fingers, tongues, teeth, and of course Cockburn's missing eye — but the mouth is the most important organ for the Coens. This all comes back to the meaninglessness — and paradoxical meaningfulness — of words in the Coens' universe, and as such relates to the cosmological issues in True Grit. This film is an interesting follow-up to one of the Coens' best and richest films, A Serious Manwhich dealt with the erratic, unpredictable, contradictory, and often cruel nature of God.
Larry Gopnik is in a universe where one may do the right thing their whole lives, and then be — however unfairly — stricken with misfortune. This is the Yahweh featured in the Books of Moses, who when interpreted as a literary figure is a trickster god whose villainy seems to parallel Shakespeare's Iago and Edmund.
God is something of a sadistic son of a bitch — who also speaks to us through the human body, namely teeth the Goy's Teethbut the significance of that communication and what the Goy's teeth mean to anybody in the day-to-day world is a baffling mystery. Everything seems all right, but it's the elliptical elements that the Coens want us to note: Louis Park live in a suburb of what was once the most anti-Semitic city in the nation, social unrest of the inner cities, the "new freedoms" of marijuana and casual sex, and, perhaps most significantly, Sy Ableman fucking your wife, seriously.
The cruel and absurd conundrum of poor Professor Larry is revised in True Grit, where God is active in everything we do, but there is logic in debt and repayment akin to the negotiations that ferment the architecture of the picture. The end credit song is Iris Dement's beautiful rendition of "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms," and the rest of Carter Burwell's score uses Protestant hymns as a model.
Of course, upon close examination, the world of True Grit may be just as unfair and random as the worlds of A Serious Man and No Country for Old Men, when we think about how Mattie's decision to go after Tom Chaney of her own will leads to a lot of corpses, LeBoeuf and Rooster sustaining injuries, losing a favorite pet, and ultimately an arm, a maiming that may keep her unmarried and undesirable for the rest of her life this is only speculative; LeBoeuf and the ruffian Quincy both address Mattie as being "ugly," albeit out of frustration, and Mattie's personality is not exactly conductive to any romantic sentiment.
The world is chaotic and cruel, nonsensical, and unjust. But returning to the main theme here — in literature perhaps best represented by Shakespeare's The Tempest — the duty of Civilization is to label, define, and identify the chaos of unknown nature, crafting the story with an artisan's sensibility. A central issue to the main cognitive muddle of True Grit is addressed by Mattie and LeBoeuf as they discuss the wrong-doings of Chaney, something that ties in perfectly with the accent on legalese here.
LeBoeuf notes how Chaney shot the senator's dog — which he says is something that is Malum Prohibitum — and then shot the senator — which is Malum in se. Rooster, not unlike the audience, wants to know the meaning of these Latin terms. Malum Prohibitum is a term referring to something that is wrong due to it being prohibited by the "laws and mores of society," as opposed to Malum in se, which refers to an "act that is wrong in itself," violating the natural, moral, or basic principles of civilization.
Prohibitum refers to something that is wrong by "statute" or legislation, a technicality e. This beautifully fits in with the motifs of the movie we've been witness to so far, and how we process the parleys involving revenge, bounties, and bodies used as tools for negotiation.
Rooster seems to have his own opinion on the matter. After all, his testimony during the trial is put into jeopardy because of the technicalities addressed by the defense. Something "wrong in itself" is nullified by another action that is "wrong by statute," namely the irresponsible handling of a situation by law officials, akin to illegal wiretaps.
Rooster also talks about how he once stole money from a bank, which outrages the law-abiding Mattie. Rooster's role as a Lawman makes him an interesting figure to contemplate; he bears the eye-patch, associating him with the blind eye of justice that judges accordingly, regardless of whatever nuances in a given situation; but he's only half blind, the other eye perceiving and making its own evaluative judgments of how to go about things.
Of course, back to my incipient Dick Cheney allegory, does this not make Rooster more of a Cheney-esque character than Tom Chaney? After all, the pursuit of Osama Bin Laden — much like Mattie's subsequent misfortunes — will lead to perhaps an unequal amount of sorrow when compared to the initiating crime that demands punishment. The final act of True Grit finds Mattie unexpectedly encountering Chaney at a riverbank. His demeanor contradicts his lethal reputation.
Her gun backfires as she takes aim for a second shot, and Chaney takes her hostage along with the posse of criminals with whom he rides, the 'Lucky' Ned Pepper gang. Set alongside Pepper, Chaney's feebleness is more concrete, and he is little more than a complaining mumbler: This is not my week," he pitifully says.
Pepper himself is vicious in his appearance, bearing ugly teeth, a maimed lip, and a horrifying scowl, making it clear that he's the real heavy of True Grit. He seems to fulfill the perimeters of the role when he puts his boot on Mattie's face and points a gun threateningly at her.
But again it's all about the business negotiation, as Pepper is simply using Mattie as a bargaining tool for a final showdown with his longtime nemesis, Rooster.
After this moment, Pepper seems a polite captor, offering Mattie bacon and coffee and warning Chaney to keep his hands off of her.
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To reiterate, "grit" is still something of a parody in this adventure of role players. Pepper is dangerous, but the content or tone of his conversations is not related to his lethality. Civilized human beings are still held at a distance from heroic grit, which is parodied in the Pepper gang member who only communicates by making animal sounds. There is a disparity between the politely acculturated people of civilization and raw primacy, as we may remember Forrester, a beastly figure in his bear skin, who in his handling of medical arts laments that he is only able to give medicinal treatment to "humans who are willing to sit down long enough.
The final confrontation between Rooster and Pepper's gang, one against four, is as rousing as it is troubling. The antagonism between Rooster and Pepper is mostly elliptical to the story of this film, and so this confrontation seems forced and inconsequential. But the music and depth charge of the moment as shot, scored, and edited when Rooster boldly charges to this finale after giving, as Pepper points out, "bold talk for a fat man" is as stirring to me as any likewise moment would be in a canonical Western.
It works on two levels: At the conclusion, Rooster is victorious, saved by LeBoeuf's long distance shot at Pepper after the marshal's been trapped underneath his horse. Immediately afterwards, Chaney knocks out LeBoeuf with a rock, but is killed by Mattie, who at last achieves her vengeance by blowing him off the perching cliff with LeBoeuf's rifle. Now, this is where the Coens' eccentricity pays off. Some viewers will dislike True Grit — or rather be confused by it — as these confrontations, as I pointed out, seem a little detached and clean.
The vendettas are dealt with in a skin-deep level, and the final moment of revenge towards which the plot has been building is underwhelming and incomplete.
Why should we care about what these characters are doing? But the plot is not the harmony of this symphony, only a basic melody.
The formal structure of the movie has kept us away from the true grit of a genuine Western; this is the guiding idea for the way the material is handled.
The motifs and repetitions that have been moving the story forth come to impactful headway the moment Chaney is shot. The force of the gunshot propels Mattie backwards and down a deep pit, where she becomes entangled in vines. She sees a corpse carrying a knife and tries to pull it close.
Inside the remains of the decayed body is a ball of venomous rattlesnakes, which are stirred awake by Mattie's movement of the corpse, the associations to Ezekiel, God, and Biblical sensibility being limitless. This is an all-too-real confrontation with Nature, something with which one cannot haggle, compromise, or bargain. Mattie is bitten by one of the snakes before Rooster can reach her. The magnificent, cheekily humorous poise of Jeff Bridges's Rooster changes effortlessly, and from this point forth, the Coens will show us the grit of the film's title, promised by Rooster Cockburn's reputation.
He pulls her out of the pit with LeBoeuf's help who, Rooster notes, can only be silenced a couple minutes with a blow to the headand rides on Blackie towards safety. The ride through the wild frontier is the most important part of True Grit and bears its crowning distinction.
There are no words here as Rooster silently hurries forth, the images not conventionally lush but seemingly made with rear projection, the sense attaining a surreal quality. The bodies of Pepper's men pass into the night and Mattie hallucinates Chaney riding away into the distance. The outcome of any plot, True Grit is telling us, is totally meaningless. The ultimate destination for this story is an emotional one, beyond words.
The grit is then reinforced by the necessity of Rooster having to put Blackie down after the horse exhausts itself to collapse, miles before society can aid Mattie. The music reaches its crescendo with this moment.
This is the character that Mattie paid for in Rooster, and so it is what she has reaped, biblically speaking. She is resistant to it, batting at Rooster when he tries to carry her off the ground; she relents and he walks on with the physical agency of Raw Nature, Wordless Earth, and True Grit, an individual acting far beyond the demands of the capital exchange involved in his hiring.
This moment in True Grit is ultimately, I believe, the most emotionally overwhelming the Coen brothers have ever constructed, the tongue-in-cheek playfulness of the previous minutes having been dashed by its wordless truthfulness.
Rooster sees society, falls to his knees, and fires his gun. What he says is a fitting coda to this last movement in the symphony, where bodies like memories drift away into the night, damned to decay and being forgotten, tying into the melancholy resonance of the Western genre. What follows is the film's epilogue, set a quarter century later, in The slow and unfinished trains of the film's beginning are now rapidly moving, the cities no longer the rough stuff of newly nailed wood, but ornately designed and painted.
We see Mattie, 39 years old, one arm amputated. They had "lively times" together, a bond in spite of strife, a natural relationship of which there is increasingly obsolescence in a world of ever-proliferating empty words and simulation.
Younger politely introduces himself and regrets that Rooster had died three days before, buried at a local Confederate cemetery.
Mattie accepts the news, and bids Younger goodbye; she utters to Frank James, "Keep your seat, trash" before leaving, a distinction she possibly makes because of Younger's documented repudiation of his crimes, versus James' blatant exploitation of them. Regardless, the setting of the Wild West show is a moving finale to this Western, which laments how the bold talk and posturing of the Old West has become nothing but posturing and the manufactured simulation of heroics, quite distinct from how Rooster saved Mattie's life, a private adventure distinct from the publically documented one.
I doubt I will get an answer... 'True Grit' (2010)...?
Mattie has buried Rooster in her own private cemetery, where he's saved from being an anonymous number in a large military graveyard, or bookmark for Wild West entertainment. His physical substance, the dry bone, is preserved in the artistry of her own sanctioned grave marking, memorialized in a private space.
This is the best that any body can hope for in a universe where we all end up like grit, but only a few us can live up to the words we breath as civilized individuals. That is the nature of any kind of artistry, whether it be of a mortician, or of a storyteller relating the mystery of the past. Those with whom we shared "lively times" drift away from us in Time. There is sadness in the impermanence of the players in our stories, which can never be told with any kind of exacting accuracy.
Mattie notes how she never knew what happened to LeBoeuf, and speculates how old he must be. Were he alive, she muses, it would be nice to see him.
Of course, she will probably never see him again. The memory has its own music, though strained by the melancholy determinism of death and loss. All we can do is lean on the belief of Everlasting Arms. Cogburn and LaBoeuf take a dislike to each other, but after some haggling, they agree to join forces in the hunt, realizing that they can both benefit from each other's respective talents and knowledge.
True Grit (novel) - Wikipedia
Once they reach a deal, the two men attempt to leave Mattie behind, but she proves more tenacious than they had expected. They repeatedly try to lose her, but she persists in following them and seeing her transaction with Marshal Cogburn through to the end.
Eventually, she is jumped by Cogburn and LaBoeuf, who had hidden themselves from view, and LaBoeuf begins to spank Mattie. Mattie appeals to Cogburn and he orders LaBoeuf to stop. At this point, Mattie is allowed to join their posse.
Together, but with very different motivations, the three ride into the wilderness to confront Ned Pepper's gang. Along the way, they develop an appreciation for one another. A film sequel, Rooster Cogburnwas produced from an original screenplay inwith John Wayne reprising his role, and Katharine Hepburn as an elderly spinster, Eula Goodnight, who teams with him.
The sequel was not well received, and the plot was considered a needless reworking of the plot of True Grit combined with elements of The African Queen. Their version, focusing on Mattie's point of view, follows the novel more closely than the film.