Is True Grit an equestrian film, you ask? You bet your boots it is, we say. For starters, every time you swing your leg over a horse, you’re connecting with an earlier time and culture where transportation by horseback was the norm, not the exception. It’s definitely the norm in True Grit, and, as in any good Western, the actors are mounted on horseback for the majority of the scenes in the film. Directors Joel and Ethan Coen discussed the tricky ins and outs of making such a horse-heavy movie in this recent NPR interview.
True Grit has other equestrian connections too. Its producer, 27 year old David Ellison, is the son of well-known sport horse owner and breeder Barbara Booth Ellison of Wild Turkey Farm. Ellison’s first partnership with Paramount Pictures has been a smash hit out of the starting gate and, from an equestrian’s perspective, we agree it’s a straight shooting success.
The Coen brothers stay remarkably true to the Western genre’s prevailing theme of outlaw justice and handle it in as wholesome a manner as a tale of a hard-boozing, one-eyed marshall on the trail of avenged murder can be. We loved the stark panoramas of desolate prairie scenery, the terrific cowboy dialogue, and of course, the horses, horses, and more horses. Yes, there’s a tearjerker of an equestrian scene, but it’s done with humanity and poise.
Haven’t seen it yet? We won’t spoil it. Watch the trailer and then ride on out to the theater – True Grit’s one you won’t want to miss.
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