Last week, a teaser trailer was released for Joel and Ethan Coen’s feverishly anticipated “True Grit.” The film, an adaptation of Charles Portis’ 1968 novel — which previously inspired the 1969 John Wayne late-career classic directed by Henry Hathaway — marks the celebrated writing and directorial duo’s first attempt at a full-on western, following sly flirtations with the genre in pictures such as “No Country for Old Men” and “Blood Simple.”
The teaser, a stunningly-beautiful little clip, relied heavily on Roger Deakins’ awe-inspiring cinematography, the Peasall Sisters’ haunting “Where No One Stands Alone” and the brothers’ razor-sharp eyes for period detail and iconic imagery. In a compact minute-and-a-half, that teaser rocketed the flick to the top of film geeks’ Holiday To-See lists and kick-started audible swirls of Oscar buzz.
Now, Yahoo has posted a full-length trailer for the film which feels aimed more towards the general mainstream. Which isn’t to say that it’s a bad trailer – it’s actually one of the better full-length previews this year! – only that it drops the welcome shroud of mystery and provides a fairly thorough storyline summary for those who need to know where a movie’s going in order to buy a ticket.
Still, I’ll be damned if the images presented within don’t give me a serious case of the chills. The solitary cowboy, cloaked under a bear’s hollow-out head, slowly trotting forward under a pitilessly bleak snowfall. The shadowy specter of a man on a horse roaring across a flat desert plain at sundown. Jeff Bridges’ Marshal “Rooster” Cogburn, gun drawn, standing against the backdrop of a gorgeous blue sky. And don’t even get me started on my love for that note-perfect visual nod to John Ford’s “The Searchers,” with Bridges standing at the entrance to a blackened mine tunnel.
All in all, this trailer alone is yet another staggering reminder of why the Coens rank among the very best working American filmmakers today. Even after the transcendent delights that were “Fargo,” “No Country,” “A Serious Man” and “The Big Lebowski” — any one of which would be a career high-mark for a lesser director — the duo are still out there, roaring down unexplored trails, guns blazing. Thank God for that.
Co-starring Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld, Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper, “True Grit” gallops into theatres on Christmas Day.
The Teaser Trailer
The Full-Length Trailer
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