“Grip of steel“. Thanks to whom there lives the western genre?
the Western are the, actually, only genre of cinema telling stories for all times which are rigidly chained in a close framework of scenery and behavioural canons of the concrete historical period. In the Soviet understanding the western is an invariable opposition of cowboys and Indians. In no small measure this stereotype was imposed to the domestic viewer by hand-made articles of the sister republics (GDR, Romania, Czechoslovakia) making improbable success on screens of the USSR. From the point of view of Italians, Indians always “went the wood“, leaving the place in a shot to dismantling between very bad and just bad bandits. And only Americans, primogenitors of a genre, always shot “the“ film about times of the Wild West which hardly found the viewer outside the New World.
After such pictures as “Unpardoned“ Clint Eastwood, “Tumstoun“, “The train on Yuma“ and the other tapes removed in the rigid, uncompromising style deprived of romanticism of wild prairies, the western unexpectedly found a second wind and began to be quoted not only in America, but also in other territories. The picture of the famous brothers Koenov does not differ in innovation, but represents the best way to accumulate practices of last years. As a result we have the magnificent, amazing tape, the next time confirming that Koena turn everything into gold what touch.
… The fourteen-year-old girl Mattie Ross comes to the town of Fort Smith to settle affairs after death of her father who died by hand the disgraceful thief and the murderer Tom Cheney. Having left at home the grieving mother and two juvenile brothers, Mattie intends not only to settle property questions, but also to revenge. To find and track down Cheney, she employs one of the best federal marshals, the “Squabbler“ Ruster Kogbern, the drunkard and the rude fellow who is not knowing pity to criminals and knowing the price to words and acts.
Kogbern did not test special pleasure, having learned that the annoying little girl is going to accompany personally him to be convinced of effective use of invested funds. But he should reconcile to the rested Mattie`s character, as well as to the fact that the company in search of the murderer on Indian lands to them will be kept by the Texas ranger Labif.
To find Cheney in a wild land where it is only possible to trust himself, a task simple and difficult at the same time. On the one hand, Kogbern perfectly knows local places, as well as people whom on this dangerous travel they should meet. With another - Tom Cheney, crafty small, was beaten to a gang of the Lucky Ned Pepper for a long time, so, from an easy mark turned into a remote target …
Iten and Joel Koenov`s Tape - one of losers of the past Oscar. In ten nominations the picture did not receive any figurine. The last western which received the highest praise of the American film academicians was already mentioned “Unpardoned“ Eastwood in 1993, and in two years before - “Dances with wolves“ of Kevin Costner. The same Bridges was taken for “the uncle of the Oscar“ last year, having got an award for the movie “Mad Heart“. And to award juvenile Hailey Staynfeld would be too obvious maneuver. Only who managed though something to have from “Grip of steel“ (apart from producers who gained 249 million world box office from 38 million budget) is the operator Roger Deakins presented for the unconditional talent with an award of the British film academy.
However, the Oscar is not considered for a long time an absolute criterion of quality especially as Americans are often very prejudiced to certain plots. And though Koena are rather regularly present at the nominations, their cinema is famous not for ratings and not baskets of prizes at all. In fact, brothers learned to shoot movies for a long time, without looking back at the others. Very valuable quality in relation to Hollywood where scenarios should be hidden under a pillow, differently not to pass emergence of a set of pictures on one subject.
In this regard, however, “Grip of steel“ cannot become an unambiguous example, the movie is a free remake of an age-old western “The true courage“ (1969) with participation of a legend of a genre, American John Wayne. Both movies, in turn, are based on Charles Portis`s novel.
The plot of a picture is in many respects trivial and does not shine with a special delicacy. By a masterpiece “Grip of steel“ is done by brilliantly picked up actors, operator and director`s work. By itself, first of all, it is worth mentioning Jeff Bridges who played a role of the marshal Kogbern. In his character there is everything: obstinacy, devotion, bragging and arrogance, self-confidence and commitment. Many note that Staynfeld in many respects played the venerable partner, but and on a plot much more attention was paid to the girl, considering that her character - central.
In a tape essentially there are no positive characters. The same Kogbern, being a skilled law enforcement officer, often puts for a collar, talks smut and not really - that loves people in principle, to wait for a privyksha from them only thin acts. Its antipode is the ranger Labif who was skillfully represented, as always, by Matt Damon. Labif is the typical idealist, fearless and somewhat eccentric at the same time. And even bandits which in a shot appears enough, do not cause unambiguous disgust. And the Lucky Ned Pepper, with his peculiar code of honor which was brilliantly played by the namesake Berri Pepper (“Seven lives“, “Green mile“). And even Tom Cheney (Josh Brolin), the trusovaty and mean mercenary who does not regret the committed crimes and is ready to kill further if only to avoid payment for the crimes in this world.
As well as the majority of pictures of Koenov, “Grip of steel“ literally tightens the slowness narrations and an inaudible, but accurate rhythm, in a step to which heroes speak, argue, eat, kill enemies and methodically move ahead to the final. It at all not “Makkena`s Gold“ where precipitancy and production scope runs the show. It is quite possible to call “grip of steel“ “a room western“ because change of scenery is not end in itself, and only subject need. All essence not in visual delights of the Wild West, and in opposition of characters, dialogues. However, we will not belittle work of Roger Deakins to which not for the first time to turn sad interiors and sad landscapes (“To old men here not the place“, “Escape from the Shawshank“ and many other movies) into the real masterpiece of operator art. Here, as they say, it is necessary just to see.
Verdict: really, one of the best movies of last year and one of the most expressive westerns of the last years. Typical koenovsky style together with filigree actor`s game gives to an old story new paints. The story about one pursuit fascinating and realistic, touching and cruel at the same time which forever changed life of all its participants.