WESTERN; 1hr 50min
STARRING: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Hailee Steinfeld
The avengers: Bridges and Steinfeld
Revenge is a dish served with co-directors Joel and Ethan Coen’s distinctive flair in their spirited adaptation of Charles Portis’s 1968 novel, which also became an Oscar-winning 1969 movie starring John Wayne. The Coens’ 1878 wild American west is the playground of flamboyant heroes and villains and their heroine, 14-year-old Mattie Ross (newcomer Steinfeld), is one for the ages.
Mattie is fearless, precocious and wise, more than a match for gnarly Arkansas Deputy US Marshal Reuben “Rooster” Cogburn (Bridges), whom she hires to guide her through Indian Territory in her quest to catch and kill the ruffian (Brolin) who murdered her father. Gravel-voiced renegade Rooster has a pirate’s eye patch, an itchy trigger finger and a fondness for whisky. Mattie is unfazed both by all this and by the self-important presence of Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Damon), who joins their crackbrained manhunt.
The three risk all they have to become a great, improbable team and the Coens’ screenplay gives them a pithy bounty to play with. Wordy, quirky and exciting, it’s a mighty fine and finally moving story about holding steady through every storm.