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Film Fans agree: Newcomer Steinfeld steals spotlight in 'True Grit' remake

EDITOR’S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the film of the week: “True Grit.” Want to be a film fan? E-mail features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

2.5 stars out of 4

I liked the tenacity and drive of the young female star (Hailee Steinfeld). She did not let her age hold her back and she went after her goal.

Surprisingly, the role Matt Damon played was not very engaging. Jeff Bridges was much more interesting. I really liked the use of old gospel songs in the soundtrack. They used “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” quite a bit.

Though vengeance is a common theme, it does not seem a worthy motivation. The federal marshal (Bridges) is more of a mercenary than a lawman and I hope there are not many like that in the modern forces. He had no recognition for the value of life and seemingly didn’t think twice about killing people. Of course, most westerns are going to have gun fights but here it was often almost sport.

There are some moments of comedy but overall nothing here to really draw you in and engage you emotionally. A nice story, but it won’t win any awards.

— J. P. Zinn, Lawrenceville

3 stars out of 4

The film is narrated by the adult Mattie Ross (Elizabeth Marvel). She relates that at the age of 14 her father was murdered by one of his hired hands, Tom Chaney (played by Josh Brolin). While collecting her father’s body, young Mattie (played by Hailee Steinfeld) inquires about hiring the meanest marshal in town to track down Chaney in order to bring him to justice.

This is an attempt at a remake of the old John Wayne western. Jeff Bridges gets some of the old western style down, but he’s no John Wayne. Matt Damon shows his versatility and Brolin is the quintessential bad outlaw. The new actress Steinfeld was right on target. The remake does capture the original story and the action is now ramped up in the gun fighting scenes. It is a very refreshing take on the original.

— Gail Nunez-Blackshear, Lawrenceville

3.5 stars out of 4

It has been a long time since there has been a western film. This movie proved to be a wonderful return. I was not sure how Matt Damon would do as a character from the Wild West, but he nailed the part of Texas Ranger LaBoeuf. I did not see the original with John Wayne, however I felt Jeff Bridges played his part perfectly. Add in newcomer Hailee Steinfeld as the teenage girl seeking revenge for her father’s murder, and you have quite the trio. The entire cast does a great job and the story rarely lagged. Each character is so well done that you empathize with their individual plights. If you enjoy westerns, this film is well worth the price of admission.

— Sean Ahern, Buford