Over the past few months, I sometimes felt that my excitement for the newest Coen Brothers’ film was just not where it should have been. There was Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and Josh Brolin; the trailers seemed great; and it was directed by the COEN BROTHERS. Yet the revealing of seemingly way too much of the plot annoyed me. I wasn’t completely sure I bought Matt Damon in the role, stupidly going by only a few seconds from which to judge. And maybe Jeff Bridges’ character seemed just a bit too over-the-top.
These were all nagging thoughts in my head, ones that I just ignored because it was the Coen Brothers. I knew deep down there was really no reason to doubt that they had made a totally badass traditional western, especially considering how great No Country for Old Men was. I figured that sort of brutal R-rated violence would translate perfectly to True Grit.
Instead the news comes out that the film is PG-13, and that it was always intended that way. It will be the Coen’s first PG-13 drama. Garbage. Are they getting soft? Do they see the need to create a film for a wider audience? These are the guys that from their first feature, Blood Simple, reveled in violent consequences. These are the guys that filmed Miller’s Crossing and Fargo. Why’d they decide to pussy out with a western? And why’d they have to play up Bridges’ character as a sheriff who shoots first and asks later if I don’t get to see the carnage he inflicts?
I’m not complaining about straight-up violence here, either. It’s also that so much of the Coen’s dark comedic undertones and so many of their disturbing, yet hilarious ideas only worked within that R rating. It’s not that you can’t make a great PG-13 film, but I just don’t see the Coen’s utilizing their full talent within such a framework.
Perhaps I should trust them to know themselves a bit better than I do. It’s not like I’ve even seen all of their films, and they haven’t even made a PG-13 dramatic film to point at and say it didn’t work for them. And I’m still going to see True Grit, I’m just glad I hadn’t had a chance to work myself into a frenzy over it yet.
Now Black Swan on the other hand…
- 2008 Oscar Wrap-Up: There Will Be Disappointment