AroView: This lively, immaculately shot remake of John Wayne’s classic 1969 western sees the Coen Brothers reinterpret Charles Portis’s novel, about a plucky 14-year-old and the drunken Marshall she hires to hunt down her father’s killer, with equal parts old-fashioned sentiment and buck-toothed wit.
Maintaining the broad, high-spirited comedy of the original while showcasing both the Coens’ consummate cinematic eye and ear for ornately spoken humour, the film gleefully exploits the language and idiosyncrasies of the old west while providing its top draw cast with exaggerated wordplay to shape their larger-than-life characters around.
Particularly impressive is newcomer Hailee Steinfeld in the pivotal role of Maddie, who carries the traditional revenge narrative with tenacity and determined spirit. If not entirely distinctive, a fine revivalist western that goes stubbornly against the grain of the ‘revisionist’ model.
Synopsis: After an outlaw named Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) murders her father, feisty 14-year-old farm girl Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) hires Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), a boozy, trigger-happy lawman, to help her find Chaney and avenge her father. The bickering duo are not alone in their quest, for a Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf (Matt Damon) is also tracking Chaney for reasons of his own. Together the unlikely trio ventures into hostile territory to dispense some Old West justice.