Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management. Follow him on Google+. He publishes on and aNewDomain and volunteers with the Alexandria Film Festival. He is also on Linkedin. To subscribe to emailed updates about additions to this web site click here.

The Coen Brothers' TRUE GRIT

The Coen Brothers' TRUE GRIT

Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald

Jeff Bridges

Readers of my book and movie review will know about my occasional hankering for a Western. It’s no surprise I was looking forward to this movie especially given my positive reaction to my recent discovery of the novel

What a masterful rendering of the novel it is. It expertly make use of the language of the cinema but does so in a way that’s extraordinarily faithful to the novel, both dramatically and visually. For example, I was constantly amazed at how often I’d look at a scene and think to myself, “That’s exactly how I pictured it!”

Hailee Steinfeld

Jeff Bridge inhabits his role in a way that excels anything I’ve ever seen in his long career.  As far as I’m concerned he deserves whatever awards he gets for this role. 

Hailee Steinfeld’s performance as Mattie shines. She nails it, pure and simple. 

Barry Pepper

Actually, everybody is great. It’s hard to single any one person out. Barry Pepper’s outlaw leader does make an impression in his short time on camera, though.

Overall the photography is absolutely gorgeous. Perhaps at times it is too beautiful to the extent it almost makes you forget the quick death and suffering that were common to the times.

But you could look at that differently and be just as philosophical about how it is a natural thing for beauty to co-exist with evil. In that sense the times have changed little since the period depicted here.

Review text copyright (c) 2011 by Dennis D. McDonald

Debra Granik's WINTER'S BONE

Debra Granik's WINTER'S BONE