More True Grit
The New York Review of Books blog discusses all three versions of True Grit (but mainly the latest) and questions of genre and Rooster’s need and potential for redemption.
This bit of trivia, if accurate, either throws that question of redemption in higher relief, or complicates it more than I’d noticed — or both:
The business about Rooster holding the reins between his teeth came from Quantrill. Quantrill did it.
One last return to the less-than-honorable past: only Mattie’s determination to exact her very private revenge allows Cogburn the opportunity for heroism in which the potential for redemption of some kind is contained. His charge is great Western-style theater, but makes one wonder whether he has become a marshal to escape/hide from his past, or to relive it. (Consider, again, the simple differences in manner that LeBoeuf and Cogburn, Army of Northern VA and Quantrill’s Raiders, respectively, exhibit: one still tries to act like he’s one of Lee’s men; the other like he’s a guerrilla.)
Mattie’s vengeance is exacted, but she literally falls into the pit which The Good Book warns her this vengeance will dig. Only this allows for Cogburn’s heroism; if there is an order which has been violated (never quite a given with the Coen Brothers — and, if it exists, nebulous), it is an order that seems to have required its own violation.
I know longer know whether this latest incarnation of True Grit reminds me of Blood Meridian so much as it does something from Greek tragedy. But it is one of those films that ages well on further reflection.