Analysis of a Film Scene
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True Grit is an American western film directed by Coen brothers. Narrated in the form of a flashback of the leading character, Mattie Ross, the film tells the audience a story of her determined vengeance on the murderer of her father with the help of a U.S. Marshal, Rooster Cogburn and Texas Ranger LaBoeuf. The whole revenge story finally ends up with Mattie’s fatal shot at the killer of her father. However, that she is pushed by the recoil into a pit and gets snakebit leads her life to be uncertain. Cogburn got Mattie out, rides day and night to send her to a doctor, takes her on foot after shooting her tired-out horse, and in the end, makes his way to a trading post.

The whole scene of hurrying on their way to a doctor starts with an extreme long shot, which is also called an establishing shot, of a sunset view where the frame is divided between light from the sunset and shade of a hillside by the skyline. The shot of such landscape typically seen in most western movies, with the sun-kissed tan sky fading out, it gives audience the idea of where and when the rest of the scene takes place, which is the wild west in nightfall. The focal point tends to be concentrated mainly on Cogburn and Mattie riding onto the sunset. They are lone riders in essence. The long shot that portrays them into a small moving black point in a background of a vast sunset view is very symbolic, in which the contrast between the physical presence of sky and the riders demonstrates that they are truly without help and vulnerable as if they are gonna be swallowed by the unsympathetic nature, giving the audience an impression that Cogburn and Mattie are breaking through the resistance of the nature in order to find a way to survive.

Having traveled miles, the horse eventually exhausts and Cogburn has to carry Mattie on foot. As the movie draws to a close, with each step Cogburn’s been struggling, his hope of saving Mattie gradually diminishes. When they finally see the trading post, Cogburn uses up his final strength to fire one last shot to notice their arrival. The camera, through

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Mattie’S Fatal Shot And Extreme Long Shot. (April 2, 2021). Retrieved from