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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

True Grit [Blu-ray]


(Joel and Ethan Coen, 2010)





Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Paramount Pictures / Skydance Productions

Video: Paramount Pictures



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:50:20.405

Disc Size: 43,971,838,143 bytes

Feature Size: 33,033,504,768 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.29 Mbps

Chapters: 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase

Release date: June 7th, 2011



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3685 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3685 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB

Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB



English, English (SDH), French, Portuguese, Spanish, none



• Mattie's True Grit (5:13 in HD)
From Bustles to Buckskin - Dressing for the 1880s (8:02 in HD)
Colts, Winchesters & Remingtons: The Guns of a Post-Civil War Western (4:41 in HD)
Re-Creating Fort Smith (11:20 in HD)
The Cast (5:25 in HD)
Charles Portis - The Greatest Writer You've Never Heard Of... (30:55 in HD)
The Cinematography of True Grit (2:57 in HD)
True Grit Theatrical Trailer (2:32 in HD!)

DVD and Digital Copy





Description: True Grit is a powerful story of vengeance and valor set in an unforgiving and unpredictable frontier where justice is simple and mercy is rare. Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), is determined to avenge her father's blood by capturing Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), the man who shot and killed him for two pieces of gold. Just fourteen, she enlists the help of Rooster Cogburn (Academy AwardŽ Winner Jeff Bridges), a one-eyed, trigger-happy U.S. Marshall with an affinity for drinking and hardened Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Academy AwardŽ Winner Matt Damon) to track the fleeing Chaney. Despite their differences, their ruthless determination leads them on a perilous adventure that can only have one outcome: retribution.


Fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross's father has been shot in cold blood by the coward Tom Chaney, and she is determined to... bring him to justice. Enlisting the help of a trigger-happy, drunken U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn, she sets out with him -- over his objections -- to hunt down Chaney. Her father's blood demands that she pursue the criminal into Indian territory and find him before a Texas Ranger named LeBoeuf catches him and brings him back to Texas for the murder of another man.



The Film:

That old-time American religion of vengeance runs like a river through “True Grit,” a comic-serious tale about some nasty, brutish times. Beautifully adapted by Joel and Ethan Coen from the parodic western novel by Charles Portis, it turns on a 14-year-old Arkansas girl who hires a “one-eyed fat man” to hunt down her father’s killer. First published in 1968, Mr. Portis’s tall tale was brought to the screen the next year custom-fitted for John Wayne, who rode the role of that fat man, Rooster Cogburn, straight to an Oscar. Now it’s the thinner scene-stealer Jeff Bridges who sits and sometimes drunkenly slumps in the saddle.

Much as he did in the raucously entertaining original film directed by Henry Hathaway, Rooster enters on his best behavior, seated in a courtroom amid a fog of cigar smoke and conspicuous lies. The pale, ghostly light comes courtesy of the Coens’ frequent cinematographer, Roger Deakins, while many of the twisty, funny sentences have been plucked by the filmmakers right from the novel. A deputy United States marshal, Rooster has attracted the interest of Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld, in a terrific film debut), a half-pint who, with her bloodlust and severely braided hair, is an authentic American Gothic. As she listens to Rooster recount his bloody deeds and high body count, her eyes shine with a true believer’s excitement.

Excerpt from Manohla Dargis of the NY Times located HERE

The Coens as auteurs take a back seat to the Coens as respectful master craftsmen for this superb adaptation of Charles Portis’s 1968 Wild West novel, ‘True Grit’. Following the success of ‘A Serious Man’ and ‘No Country for Old Men’, the brothers have adapted a book which in 1969 inspired a decent but only mildly entertaining film that was in thrall to the vanity of John Wayne. Here, they give back to that tale the same grit that attracts young teen Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) to the grizzled, louche US Marshal, Reuben ‘Rooster’ Cogburn.

Excerpt from TimeOut London located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

True Grit looks flawless on Blu-ray from Paramount. It might be hard to identify the dominant factor in the stellar appearance but I leaning to say that it is the contrast. This is dual-layered with a strong bitrate and although there are many dark scenes in the film it has no noise. The image doesn't have excessive gloss and maintains some textures. Colors are accurate to the earthy pallet. Daylight scenes produce impressive detail and overall the image is extremely pleasing. It is so good at times that I found myself watching the beauty of the visuals (more credit to Deakins) than, actually, following the film. This Blu-ray reproduces the theatrical experience sublimely. The transfer supplies an impeccable image quality. I couldn't find a complaint if I tried.

















Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3685 kbps packs a punch when called upon and the film's score with predictable aggression comes through marvelously attaining depth, separation and an infrequent but surprisingly decent high end. Part of this is the original score via uncompressed. As Christopher Orr of The Atlantic states "...the real reason to see the film is the work of the Coens' regular collaborators, cinematographer Roger Deakins and composer Carter Burwell, who supply the visual and auditory landscapes that are True Grit's most notable achievement." Burwell is a busy chap - aside from Coen films like Burn After Reading, A Serious Man and No Country for Old Men he has done other scores for films like In Bruges, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Where the Wild Things Are and Howl in the past few years. The music is a little dark and subversive - sounding crisp and wonderfully brittle via the lossless rendering. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

There are about an hour's worth of featurettes involving, standard fare, production, costumes, the guns, Fort Smith etc. but the highlight is the more extensive piece on the writer Charles Portis who has been described as "one of the most inventively comic writers of western fiction". Before True Grit he also wrote the novel Norwood (1966) which was made into a movie in 1970 with Glen Campbell and Kim Darby. Also included are a dual-layered DVD (with the feature) with access to a Digital Copy for use with your portable devices.



I loved the original True Grit with 'The Duke' and am also a fan of most Coen brothers films. This new version fulfilled my expectations by adhering to the original story while setting its own mark with style and performances. This is an immensely entertaining film and the Blu-ray is perfect in every regard. The only thing missing would be a commentary but regardless many will consider this one of the must-own packages of the year. This will produce a fabulous night in the Home Theater. Strongly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

May 27th, 2011




About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze





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