When Will They Learn? Why I Wont Endorse a Coens' Remake of TRUE GRIT...

Am I alone in my opinion of yesterday€™s announcement that the Coens are set to helm a re-imagining of an absolute classic of the cinematic age? Regardless of the their obviously impeccable film-making credentials and of the intended enriching of the subject, I have to say I€™m appalled at the decision to make another version of True Grit- different POV or no different POV. I view this news in the same way that I would balk at the prospect of anyone remaking Citizen Kane from the perspective of Rosebud, or Harvey from that of the bunny- they are fundamental aspects of the story, as Mattie Ross is to True Grit, but there is no need to redress their silence. 2jrpoj2po Okay, so the story was originally told from the perspective of Mattie, and the film necessarily changed it to accommodate the star power of Wayne and the excellent Glenn Campbell, but I prefer to see the change in perspective to be an enriching development rather than an unfaithfulness to the text. The film is a generation of the book, an alternate perspective that means True Grit represents more than a simple book to film adaptation. So why is it necessary to return to the source and effectively ignore the relevance and the accomplishment of John Wayne€™s version? To me it smacks of the Coens€™ lack of faith in the quality of the Western stories they have no doubt trawled through searching for their long-heralded Western opus. Whether this is laziness or frustration does not matter; in my opinion they are committing sacrilege, messing with an Untouchable, albeit with less destructive intention. At the end of the day, I€™m a film fan- an obsessive- and as much as I admire the route of the story, I€™m just not interested in the book, or in the fact that it originally told the story from the girl€™s perspective. Because all of that is inconsequential in light of what I see as the inevitably detrimental effect the Coens€™ latest project will have upon the original film. Remakes, reboots, re-imaginings: whatever you want to call them, can have one of two effects- either being so piss-poor as to reinvigorate interest in the original (Psycho, and every remake of Michael Cain€™s films), or outclassing the original in such a way that it becomes the definitive edition (Little Shop of Horrors, The Fly, Cape Fear). And everyone knows what€™s going to happen when the Coens get their hands on the tale; the result will effectively render the Wayne version a redundant archaism, a mere fondly remembered footnote to the self-righteous glow of their attempt. This is in no way an expression of my fierce, if possibly misguided loyalty to John Wayne: I freely admit that the rose-tint that I attach to his films is an unhealthy symptom of a romantic familiarity with what Wayne€™s films represent. But True Grit is a bona fide classic- and along with The Quiet Man and The Searchers represents the best of the man called Marion€™s career. A selfish expression, I know, but I don€™t want the Coens to do it, so I€™m never presented with the possibility that I might even like their version better.

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