Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Goodness beyond ourselves"

Elijah Davidson, at Patheos, in "Truer Grit", explains why he thinks this film version of True Grit is so good:
.... What is the ethic of this film? From my seat, it is that justice must be done, and if grace exists (and it clearly does), the giving of it may be the privilege of God alone. "Is grace, like vengeance, Thine?" the film asks of God. "And have You left justice up to us?"

Now some might argue that this Western, like many others, is about revenge. I disagree. Young Mattie Ross is not seeking vengeance for the death of her father. There is no wrath in her relentless pursuit. There is determined confidence in the rightness of her aims. She wants justice to be served. In fact, she demands it. ....

...[W]oven through our tale of cold justice served is a soundscape of hymns subtly reminding us of Goodness beyond ourselves. ....

There is very little different plot-wise in this new film compared to the old one, but the Coens have managed to imbue this plot with more darkness and stronger light. They have given the tale truer grit, if you'll allow the pun, but also truer grace.

And they have done this by making a better movie than the original. True Grit, whether with intention or not, theologizes using the conventions of film—through narrative structure, cinematography, and soundtrack. The film wrestles with issues of justice and grace and God's part in it all, and it invites its audience to do the same. .... [more]
This is one of those films that—like the first one—I will watch again and again. It is already available for order at Amazon, although there is not yet a release date. I was also motivated to order the book on which the movies are based. I once had the paperback but it disappeared at some point since the '60s.

Patheos: Truer Grit