Tags: Barry Pepper, Bruce Green, Dakin Matthews, Digital Copy, Domhnall Gleeson, Ed Corbin, Elizabeth Marvel, Ethan Coen, Hailee Steinfeld, Jarlath Conroy, Jeff Bridges, Joel Coen, Josh Brolin, Leon Russom, Matt Damon, Paramount, Paul Rae, Roger Deakins, Roy Lee Jones, Steven Spielberg
has an average rating of 8.0 on IMDb
1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 50gb disc
DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
are nice with a Digital Copy & DVD
– 110 minutes
This uses 30.7GB for the movie out of 40.9GB total.
Overall Verdict – Highly Recommended
— Review written by: Justin Sluss —
The Movie Itself was directed by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen (The Coen Brothers) best known for writing & directing the films “Blood Simple” (1984), “Raising Arizona” (1987), “Fargo” (1996), “The Big Lebowski” (1998), “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (2000) and “No Country for Old Men” (2007). This, their most recent project, is technically a remake of the 1969 film (of the same title) that starred the late screen-legend John Wayne. It also, like the ’69 film, is based on the original novel written by Charles Portis — with the screenplay adapted by both Joel & Ethan Coen.
For those who have never read the book or seen the original 1969 film, this tells the story of a young girl by the name of “Mattie Ross” (played here by Hailee Steinfeld) who has come to a town to claim her father’s body; as he was murdered. Mattie has a strong desire for revenge and she wants to find a man to help her get that revenge, a man with “true grit” — hence the film’s title. She has it seems a very good education and a very confident attitude to her which scares most of the males in the town, especially the owner of the livery. After speaking to the town’s Sheriff, Mattie walks into a courtroom to hear a man testify that she was told by the Sheriff may be the person she’s looking for to help her seek revenge. The man sits on the witness stand in both a combination of shadow and beam of light from the window with smoke and dirt in the air, giving his testimony with an obvious drunken tone to his cadence, beardy face and a eye patch. This man is “Rooster Cogburn” (played here by Jeff Bridges) and he’s on the witness stand for shooting a man he was hired to apprehend. It’s safe to say that Rooster is definitely known for getting his man, regardless if he has to do things that aren’t exactly legal or ethical to get a positive result. This strikes Mattie as just the man she wants to help her with her predicament. She approaches Mr. Cogburn after the trial and he laughs in her face but Mattie doesn’t back down that easily.
Let’s just say, long story short, Mattie gets Mr. Cogburn to go find the man who killed her father. Also they are joined by a Texas Ranger by the name of “LaBoeuf” (played here by Matt Damon) who is a tad bit sweet on Mattie but doesn’t want to let her be part of the manhunt. That sets up the basic plot for our film. The three start out on a manhunt to catch the man who killed Mattie’s father.
The Coen Brothers 2010 telling of “True Grit” is a lot different than the original 1969 film with John Wayne but it does hold some verbatim lines of dialogue — actually more verbatim to the novel, I guess. You have some nice co-starring roles here from folks like Josh Brolin who had just worked with the Coens a few films back and Barry Pepper as well. It’s always nice to see the Coens re-team with their usual cast of actors, but it’s also always nice in a visual perspective to see them re-team with cinematographer Roger Deakins as you’ll hear me discuss in further detail below in the video quality section. If you are a fan of the 1969 film, you’ll like this, I’ll very strongly bet you on that. If you never even saw the original film or read the book it’s based on, you’ll also like this film, I’ll very strongly bet you on that as well. The Coen brothers are just filmmaking geniuses and it seems everything they touch turns to gold like King Midas.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte dual-layered Blu-ray Disc) in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. According to IMDb this was shot on Super 35mm film using ArriCam and Arriflex cameras. It’s safe to say the real highlight here visually is much thanks to the amazing cinematography done by DP (director of photography) Roger Deakins who has worked with The Coen Brothers on many, many of their films to-date. First thing you’re going to really notice here is that the black level is 100% perfectly solid, helping to emphasize much of the detail especially during darker (night) scenes such as seen HERE & HERE in screenshots. Second thing you’ll notice is the sheer abundance of detail here in every shot. Be it a close-up of Jeff Bridges showing off every little hair on both his head and beard, the pores of his skin or be it a traditional landscape shot of the town during the opening — similar to older Westerns — that just offers a scenic view. Detail is just excellent here and translates beautifully from Super 35mm film source to Hi-Def in the transfer.
Now, it’s quite obvious that the color palette has been subdued and seems a bit “washed out” to give that Western visual style as well as use of a warm color tone. Don’t expect colors like the green of the trees leaves to stand out, as they are very far from bold or vibrant. That’s not a bad thing, it’s the visual style of this and it works. The fleshtones are for the most part accurate here, given the color palette being subdued. There’s a good amount of film grain still visibly present here which makes me think that DNR (digital noise reduction) hasn’t been used and things have been kept true to the DP (Roger Deakins) and directors’ intentions. No real flaws at all to speak of here in this transfer from film to Hi-Def, in fact it looks amazing and is very much worthy of a perfect “5 Star Rating” for overall video quality. I’m glad to see that the amazing cinematography was done justice here. Kudos to the folks at Paramount and Deluxe Digital Studios on a job very well done.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. Things do start out very subtle with just the soft piano during the intro credits, which sounds marvelous and very soft, yet also bright. It’s only a matter of 15 seconds though before the opening narration starts as the piano continues. The narration by the older “Mattie Ross” is delivered very distinctly throughout primarily the front center channel speaker. The same goes for dialogue here and requires no volume adjustment. Back to the film’s original musical Score, done by Carter Burwell, I’d like to point out that this makes some really excellent use of both the rear channel surround speakers and the subwoofer (LFE channel). This 5.1 mix also makes good use of the sound effects likes gunshots, horses and such very, very well. This isn’t the most impressive audio mix I’ve ever heard but it has some real highlights to it and impressive moments, don’t get me wrong, it just wasn’t enough to “blow me away” in terms of sound. Still, having said that, this does a bit more than just get the job done and earns itself an impressive “4.5 Star Rating” for overall audio quality. The amazing film (remake) here is done justice.
Bonus Materials are presented in High Definition (HD) video quality with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo @224kbps sound — unless otherwise noted below.
- “Mattie’s True Grit” (5:13 – HD) includes interviews with the young actress Hailee Steinfeld who plays the character of “Mattie Ross” in the film. We also get a bit of behind-the-scenes on set footage and Steinfeld’s audition tape shown here in between interviews.
- “From Busters to Buckskin – Dressing for the 1880s” (8:02 – HD) focuses on the costumes used in the film. This includes interviews with the costume designer Mary Zophres discussing the costumes, her research on the time period and such. Actors Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Barry Pepper also contribute interviews here and we get some behind-the-scenes on set footage as well.
- “Colts, Winchesters & Remingtons: The Guns of a Post-Civil War Western” (4:41 – HD) features interviews with the property master Keith Walters and still photographs of the props themselves.
- “Re-Creating Fort Smith” (11:20 – HD) includes lots of behind-the-scenes footage as they construct and use the set for Fort Smith (supposed to be set in 1875) and Google Earth-style satellite images of the town used. We also get interviews with folks like Executive Producer Robert Graf, Production Designer Jess Gonchor and Supervising Art Director Christy Wilson.
- “The Cast” (5:25 – HD) includes interviews with cast members Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld, Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper. Also there’s some behind-the-scenes footage thrown in for good measure.
- “Charles Portis – The Greatest Writer You’ve Never Heard of…” (30:55 – HD) is documentary on the author of the book this film and the original were based on. Lots of interviews with folks from the literary community here as well as even folks like Singer/Songwriter Dwight Yoakam and Screenwriter/Director Nora Ephron.
- “The Cinematography of True Grit” (2:57 – HD) includes interviews with the DP (Director of Photography) Roger Deakins who is just a brilliant man, as you’ll hear the cast and crew also discuss in a few short interviews.
- Theatrical Trailer (2:33 – HD) features Dolby Digital 5.1 @448kbps Surround sound.
Overall, the bonus materials you get here prove to all be very much worth-the-watch as well as “feel shed some light” so-to-speak on the making of this remake/re-telling of this story. The Digital Copy and DVD are both housed on the same disc and are both very nice to see included.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Please be patient with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.