TV SERIES AND MOVIE RECOMMENDATIONS – STATE OF THE UNION (2019) AND TRUE GRIT (2010)

  1. STATE OF THE UNION (2019) TV SHOW
State of the Union is a British comedy-drama mini series created and written by Nick Hornby and directed by Stephen Frears. The show shows a married couple when they meet every week for a drink before their marital therapy. So all episodes are just them talking over a drink, for ten minutes straight.

For a simple concept like this, set in one place, with only two characters, you need strong writing. And Nick Hornby does an excellent job. The dialogues are realistic and well written. He uses a lot of analogies, and I liked all of them. Creating analogies that symbolise important plot points in a show/movie is a skill, and in this series, Hornby has done a tremendous job at it.

It’s realistic, the way the conversations steer from one topic to another. They’ve done a commendable job at portraying this couple with a flawed marriage. With every episode, you actually see how their relationship is changing for the better, and this change feels very smooth.

The chemistry between Chris O Dowd and Rosamund Pike is phenomenal. It was really interesting to see their characters open up and talk about their insecurities. Their characters, Louise and Tom are two very different people, them communicating with each other puts light on a lot of their internal struggles. Their ten minutes of bickering alone tells you a lot about them and their marriage. There is no exposition, all the things are revealed in a very subtle way, thanks to the great writing. It was also nice to see the great Stephen Frears add his magic behind the camera.

State of the Union is a great light show that is worth your time. There are only ten episodes which are barely ten minutes long, so it’s a perfect comfort watch as it won’t take a lot of effort.

 

2.     TRUE GRIT (2010)

 

True Grit is directed by the Coen Brothers. In this film 14 years old Mattie Ross’ father is killed by a guy named Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). So she hires a US Marshall named Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to go after him. They are accompanied by a Texas Ranger (Matt Damon) who’s also after Chaney as he killed his State Senator. As they embark on this journey their courage is tested in several ways.

I think True Grit is one of those rare movies which is actually better than it’s original counterpart. This is an incredibly impressive work in Coen Brothers’ filmography. The main thing that runs the movie are the tongue in cheek dialogues. The banter between the characters is entertaining and often hilarious.I think Coen Brothers are some of the few filmmakers who actually make use of the original accents and words from a particular time period, instead of modernising the dialogues. It really adds to the authenticity. They have done a great job at creating this atmosphere, I felt like I was watching a classic American western. Western is one of my favourite genres, and this film does an excellent job at portraying the style and feel of a western. The writing is phenomenal, while the first 70% of the film is more of a meditative hang out film, the third act shifts gears and all the nuances and layers come together smoothly for one explosive third act.  The Coens’ long time collaborator, Roger Deakins’ cinematography is stunning. I liked his use of natural lighting and washed out colours. Carter Burwell’s score is beautiful, gives a perfect homage to scores of classic westerns.

Jeff Bridges as Marshall Cogburn really embodies this iconic character. He does a great job at playing this drunkard marshall with a bad past. The father-daughter relationship kind of between him and Hailee Steinfeld’s character is really well done, it adds an emotional layer to the film. Hailee Steinfeld kills it as Mattie Ross. She was only twelve when this film was shot, and she knocks it out of the park. this is a very tough role. Matt Damon is great as this always bickering ranger. The arguments between him and Jeff Bridges character are really funny to watch.

True Grit is a really entertaining film with great characters and an extremly layered script. Coen Brothers have for the first time not experimented with genres and have tried to tell an authentic and old fashioned story.

 

 

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