True Grit: Film Making with The Coen Brothers

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  • Topic: Coen brothers, The Big Lebowski, Burn After Reading
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True Grit

Tylor McNiel
Tony Gans
Intro to Cinema
6 April 2012

Directors
The movie, True Grit (2010), was directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, more commonly known as simply – The Coen Brothers. They are very well known directors, as well as producers, writers, and editors. The brothers always work as a team, sometimes under the alias of Roderick Jaynes when editing, and they are only the third directing co-op to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director. They made their first movie, Blood Simple, in 1984, and the rest has been history. The Coen Brothers have directed/produced fifteen films, and been a part of making many others. They have been nominated for thirty-three Academy Awards and seventeen Golden Globe Awards. They have won six Academy and three Golden Globe Awards, including Best Director and Best Screenplay. In an issue of “Empire Magazine” the brothers were ranked thirteenth in a reader’s pole for the twenty greatest directors of all time. Some well-known works of theirs include, O Brother Where Art Thou, No Country for Old Men, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, The Lady Killers, and The Hudsucker Proxy. They have a very distinct film making style. Like most directors, their general style is classical, falling between realist and formalist. They include a lot of dark humor hidden in the dialogue of their films. To truly get the most of the films, the audience must be active and think about all aspects of what is taking place on the screen. They like to use a lot of irony in the plots of their movies, which range from light comedies to dark thrillers. Even their serious movies, such as No Country for Old Men, include humor hidden inside the conversations that take place between characters, whether within the words themselves or the way that the words are said. The brothers seem to use the same three basic themes for their films: botched crime, indestructible evil, and Americana or regional stereotypes. Their films about botched crime include O Brother Where Art Thou (about a botched prison escape) and Fargo (about a botched murder). In their film, No Country for Old Men, they use the theme of indestructible evil with the protagonist, an escaped convict and killer by the name of Anton Chiguhr; and True Grit is an example of classic Americana. Movie Synopsis

True Grit is a remake of a 1968 movie with the same title directed by Henry Hathaway and staring John Wayne, and is based on a novel by Charles Portis. The movie is set in the winter of 1878 in Fort Smith, Arkansas and the surrounding indian territories. The marshal Reuben “Rooster” Cogburn is portrayed by Jeff Bridges, the Texas Ranger, Le Beuf, is played by Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfield is cast as Maddie Ross, and Josh Brolin plays the protagonist Tom Cheney. A farmer from Arkansas gets murdered by one of his hired hands, Cheney, while in Fort Smith, Arkansas on business. His fourteen year old daughter, Maddie, is sent to identify the body and arrange for its transportation back to their farm for burial. Maddie has her own ideas. After speaking to the local law, she decides that not enough effort is being put forth to catch the murderer, so she takes matters into her own hands and hires marshal Rooster J. Cogburn, because of his “true grit”, to track her man down and bring him to justice. Before his departure, Cogburn meets another man, Le Beuf, who is also looking to capture Cheney for unrelated charges. The two decide to throw in together, much to Maddie’s protest, due to Cogburn’s knowledge of the territory and Le Beuf’s knowledge of Cheney. Maddie insists of tagging along on the chase, but the men try to leave her behind in Fort Smith, but due to her stubbornness, she lights out after them and catches up a ways out of town. This causes a disagreement between the two men who decide to end their partnership and part ways. After a long journey into the Indian Territory, Rooster and Maddie come across some information about who Cheney is with and...
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