From The Coens, A Grittier Sort Of Truth Out West
Joel and Ethan Coen are probably tired of the question, but you can’t not ask it: Why make a film of Charles Portis’ 1968 novel True Grit when it already was a movie — a good one — with a definitive, Oscar-winning performance by John Wayne as one-eyed U.S. Marshal Reuben “Rooster” Cogburn? After all, it’s not like the brothers need the work.
On the basis of the new film, I’d say the Coens made their own True Gritbecause their voice and sensibility owe something to Portis. Their dialogue, like his, is a blend of the baroque and the deadpan, their vision nihilistic with a hint of farce.