Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Women of The West

The Coen Bros latest film is a stunning re-adaptation of True Grit starring Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges and Josh Brolin but it's the central performance of Hailee Steinfeld as the teenage avenger out to track down her father's killer that powers this movie into multiple Oscar territory - Steinfeld's portrayal as the feisty daughter pins together the script and provides a few moments of humour in an otherwise grim tale of death and hardship. That's not to say the other performances aren't equally as assured, Bridges in particular is brilliant as a curmudgeonly, alcoholic Marshall, and combined with an excellent script and some stunning cinematography this will, deservedly, collect a sackful of awards. It's definitely the Brothers least Coen-esque film and maybe that's no terrible thing, mind you I've always preferred their thrillers to the quirky comedies. Oh and according to Wikip they're working on bringing Chabon's excellent alt-history novel The Yiddish Policemen's Union to the big screen - nice.

The Shooting is an enigmatic western from Monte Hellman (Two Lane Blacktop) & Jack Nicholson. Warren Oates stars as a former bounty hunter turned miner drafted by a mysterious woman into a lengthy manhunt but it's not long before a ruthless, gunslinging Nicholson turns up and as tensions rise they head into the desert towards the inevitable bloodshed. The plot is deliberately obtuse and with sparse, ambiguous dialogue and sun bleached vistas it all adds up to a quietly atmospheric little western that was rather enjoyable though I'm sure the 60's denouement won't be to everyone's tastes. Good stuff, which you can watch below. Will dig around for Hellman's Cockfighter which apparently also stars the impressive Oates.

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