The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
Critic Consensus: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs avoids anthology pitfalls with a consistent collection tied together by the Coen brothers' signature blend of dark drama and black humor.
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Critic Reviews for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is the perfect Coen Brothers' movie, albeit sliced and diced.
After a darkly hilarious musical number, the Buster story loses steam in its goofy closing moments - but that's OK, it's time to move on to the next chapter!
Taken as a whole, it's smart, snappy filmmaking from the duo who, 30-plus years into their careers, are still revealing new tricks hidden up their sleeves.
You'd think with viewers' short attention spans and love of binge-watching, it would be the perfect format for today. But "Buster Scruggs" is mostly unengaging.
Ethan and Joel Coen have a reputation for making films that shatter expectations, and "Ballad" is no exception.
Audience Reviews for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
You're a actor of note and at a Hollywood function, or a red carpet meet and greet, and you run into one or both of the Coen Brothers ... what do you say? Well eventually, by my estimation of some of the most memorable work in the popular line of late (or by rep alone), you say: "got any parts for me in your next thing?" And here then is the answer, a work that manages to squeeze a lot of celebs into one piece, that's really six pieces. As with any collection of short stories, some are better than others, yes, but all strike different chords of the human condition and all memorably. For my part I was most impressed with Tom Waits and Lucky as gold miners, and the story of young love unfolding on a wagon train journey to Oregon, but you find which story resonates with you best. The underlying theme throughout is the American West seen in new ways.
As with most anthologies this movie is a bit of a mixed bag, however I like that you get the full range of the Coen Brothers here. Looney Tunes-esque mayhem, brutal violence, and a preoccupation with death's inevitability.
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