TRUE GRIT (Coen Bros.)
Well this certainly is a departure from the Coens' previous films since this is their first adaptation of a movie, if I'm not mistaken. Every self-respecting film lover knew so well the John Wayne version, and I am quite uncertain how to place this re-imagining, given that most of the dialogue in the John Wayne film can be heard here.
The difference from the John Wayne version are minimal: the opening scene is cut here, going straight to Mattie (Hailee Steinfeld) claiming his father's remains at the undertaker's. The ending here shows an older Mattie, and it is revealed that Mattie and Marshall Rooster Cogburn are never to see each other again since Mattie got bitten by the snake. Then there's Mattie doing the narration.
In between, pretty much the dialogue and the sequence of events are the same, with minor alterations to time and place and certain elements (i.e. number of people).
If you are going to single out this TRUE GRIT, well Jeff Bridges certainly gives his distinct portrayal of Rooster- like a Bad Blake, but a gunslinging Bad Blake. Matt Damon is also damn funny as the Texas Ranger LaBeouf, who insists on being called "La Beef" (at least that is how it is pronounced by Damon) but the true star of the film is Hailee Steinfeld, who gives the Mattie Ross character so much power and persona that at the age of 14, every other character succumbs to her. She is a kid, and a girl, but she's up there playing guns with the big boys. Steinfeld's unshakable resolve is not only convincing, but earth-shattering. Every time she speaks a word my ears are attentively listening. She has that factor that thrills me.
Though at times plain, TRUE GRIT heightens the action a bit by the level of violence that is signature Coens', but for its sake, the violence isn't Coen Brothers enough. For reference, see NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, a movie with a somewhat similar landscape.