***** (5 stars)
Damon comes off with the kind of chutzpah that first attracted us to him in "Good Will Hunting". He is the underdog amongst underdogs. Whether being bested by a young girl and a drunken old man or the criminal that is constantly alluding him, he has a strong determination to see this quest through and collect the reward he has been chasing for months. We aren't sure if we are supposed to like LaBoeuf or if he is a sort of anti-villain; someone to get in the way of Mattie's ultimate goal. Through his actions, we find that he is a man of honor and true grit as well.
I was weary about this movie, the original being one of my favorite Westerns of all time; but in the ever capable hands of the Cohen brothers it is a thing of beauty. My father remarked that it is much more in keeping with the novel than the earlier film. I haven't read the book but I will take his word on it. What is evident is that this movie stands alone and outside comparison with the Wayne version. They are almost different entities and are completely different films. I hope this movie does well and we can usher back an age of the Western, the undoubtedly American genre of film that I thought "3:10 to Yuma" would have done in 2007. Of course, that was also a remake so maybe the point is we need new Westerns. Someone call Clint Eastwood and tell him to quit making his political films and get back to business!