I know I'm late to the game but I have now finally seen the film everyone was raving about at Oscar time... and it was totally worth it. I must say it doesn't quite reach the dizzy heights Black Swan and Kings Speech left me with but it does very well nonetheless.
Basic plot - in case you don't already know - is about a young girl Maddy who decides to hire a man to track down her father's murderer so she can bring him to justice, in the form of the drunken and impossible to understand Jeff Bridges. Set against a stunning Western backdrop, this film also sees the hapless two joined by Texas Ranger Matt Damon who has been on the man's trail since long before he decided to kill Maddy's dad.
Firstly, though the film revolves around Maddy (who is only 14!) being sad about the murder of her father, she is no wallflower (hence the Oscar nomination!). The girl can hold her own, whether it's negotiating a deal or the use of a firearm. Watching how the two men warm to her is funny and heartwarming but not remotely soppy. The film also has all the essential elements to a great western - there are gun fights, horse chases and bad teeth a plenty and the unlikely hero of the piece is a bumbling drunken man with one eye. The Coen brothers have done brilliantly here with even the smallest character played by incredible actors.
What really surprised me was just how funny this film was! There are numerous laugh-out-loud moments and I am not actually sure if they are all intentional. But I guess there is humour to be had in everyday life and it plays really well on that. Put a 14 year old girl with a bumbling old man and a texas ranger in the middle of the American West and funny things will happen just as much as scary things will!
I LOVED how totally un-Hollywood the ending was. If you are of the school of thought that a great film needs a nice happy-all-wrapped-up-nicely-in-a-bow ending, you will be disappointed. I, however, love films that don't follow convention and am now looking forward to getting the book if only to see how accurate the ending was compared to the original... though I may leave it a while so I don't compare the two TOO closely :)