I saw this the other day, and was just plain bored senseless. An almost entirely useless movie that feels like it was conceived as an Oscar bid for Jeff Bridges, before CRAZY HEART got pushed into mainstream release and the campaign got going.
Calculated, phony, useless.
I hope you downloaded it Roscoe.
(at least that’s what I did)
Alas, I used a perfectly good pass to see it in a theater. The last time I’ll do that for a Coen film.
I found it all to be underwhelming. I certainly wouldn’t say it was terrible by any means, but I guess I expected a little more out of the film than just a fairly traditional western plot. On one hand, I can admire the Coens for maintaining that kind of modest classical vision, with consistent performances from the cast and admirable photography from Roger Deakins. Yet at the same time, given their intelligence as filmmakers, I’d expect the Coens to provide something greater cinematic value rather than heading down the road of predictability. Of course, given its current box office run, the marketing of the film seems to be working for the public.
-Odd that this ends up being their biggest hit ever and first film to break $100 million in the US box office.-
Well, it’s a remake of a fairly iconic Western, so it’s a genre film that has appeal far beyond the Coen’s regular fan base (and it sounds like the Coens played it fairly straight), the Coens are only a few years removed from the Best Picture win for No Country, and Bridges is fresh from his Best Actor win for Crazy Heart, all in a film that was released in down year (in terms of big quality studio prestige films) during Oscar season.
“Well, it’s a remake of a fairly iconic Western, so it’s a genre film that has appeal far beyond the Coen’s regular fan base "
Yes, but the western as a genre has ceased being profitable decades ago (or as box office “analysts” put it, this is the first western since Unforgiven/Dances With Wolves to gross $100 plus at the North American box office) with some modestly successful revivals lately (Yuma, Deadwood et. all). Also, their follow-up to No Country had Brad Pitt and George Clooney and still didn’t do as well. And Bridges is hardly a box office draw, Oscar or no Oscar (the closest this one comes is Damon). Also, apparently, it’s doing well with young people now (so not a demographic who is familiar with the original).
But, yeah, I think the fact that it’s so traditional as Coen Brothers films go accounts for the film’s success – their previous stabs at more mainstream success have been comedies and their comedies tend to be at least off-putting for some. I take it you haven’t seen it yet. If you like westerns, you’ll probably like it (unless you harbour some dislike towards the Coen brothers which will make you find it, like Roscoe, “phoney” or [enter adjective that people who hate the Coen brothers use to describe their general hatred of their films]). It’s nothing special though. I can understand people who find it pointless and dull.
Pointless and dull. Admirable descriptions of the Coens’ TRUE GRIT.
I wasn’t too impressed with the female lead’s acting, either, although my feelings aren’t as strong as Risselada’s.
Ari said, “On the other hand, a big problem with the film is that I hate children who are wiser and more adult-like than adults trope in film and this one suffered big time from that.”
I think I wouldn’t mind this trope so much if the child actor could make it believable. I don’t think that was the case in this film.
I my biggest disappointment is that the Coens’ did nothing to enhance the original story—which, as is, wasn’t great to begin with (wasn’t bad, either, but not worth making a re-make).
I haven’t seen it, and I do like Westerns. Good ones, anyway.
-but the western as a genre has ceased being profitable decades ago (or as box office “analysts” put it, this is the first western since Unforgiven/Dances With Wolves to gross $100 plus at the North American box office) -
I’d compare it with Wild, Wild West ($113,804,681 domestically) and Maverick ($101,631,272), both remakes of vintage properties that were (at least ostensibly) Westerns.
-Apparently, it’s doing well with young people now (so not a demographic who is familiar with the original).-
I’d be interested to know the actually demographic breakdown for the film. Kids will go see anything that’s new, on a lot of screens, and has a big marketing budget. I have a feeling that this film is a big draw for the AMC crowd.
By the way, in addition to some of the things already mentioned, the number of screens the film is on is probably a big factor in terms of the big gross. According to Box Office Mojo, widest release for the last few Coen films:
True Grit—3,124 theaters
A Serious Man—262 theaters
Burn After Reading—- 2,657 theaters
No Country For Old Men—2,037 theaters
kind of underwhelming movie. not terrible by any stretch but too much in the way of dramatic tension to make it interesting
Brian, I thought the opposite about the dramatic tension — I didn’t feel there was any. At all.
As underwhelming as the film largely is, I found the ending quite genuinely sad and almost touching. I’m not sure why since nothing up to that point seemed to merit that pathos but it was very nicely done.
roscoe, yes typo. i agree with you fully. meant to say lack of dramatic tension. nothing really seems to happen
“Also, their follow-up to No Country had Brad Pitt and George Clooney and still didn’t do as wel”
yet according to Box Office Mojo, it made over 163 million worldwide, at a budget of 37 million. That is a successful movie, by anyone’s standards, relative to cost and gross.
let’s wait and see how True Grit fares overseas. No Country made 171 million worldwide, so that obviously didn’t just play to the Coen’s ‘fanbase’, whoever that is nowadays. ‘A Serious Man’ did average business, but then again, it had no stars.
i am surprised how well True Grit is doing though, even for a well marketed film.
It wasn’t bad, but it sure ain’t no “Miller’s Crossing”.
“So take your flunky and dangle.”