The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs Review
What’s It About?
Six separate tales from the Wild West, told in their inimitable style by the Coen Brothers.
Who’s In It?
Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List, Taken, & more recently The Commuter)
James Franco (Pineapple Express, 127 Hours & more recently The Disaster Artist)
Other notables include:
Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks, What If, & more recently The Big Sick)
Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother Where Art Though, Minority Report, Fantastic Four)
Director: Joel & Ethan Coen (No Country For Old Men, True Grit, & Inside Llewyn Davis)
Although Westerns aren’t particularly popular these days, the Coen Brothers don’t seem to have got the memo. While No Country For Old Men wasn’t overtly a Western, the True Grit remake most certainly was, and so it is with their latest film, their 18th in total, which is a series of six short films rolled into one.
And therein lies the problem, for while some of the films are excellent, such as the one involving James Franco ('Near Algodones') and another involving Zoe Kazan ('The Gal Who Got Rattled'), some of them simply don’t work such as Liam Neeson’s 'Meal Ticket'. As a result, therefore, just as you are getting invested in a film and its characters, it switches to a new, and occasionally less impressive film.
That said, all of the films are beautifully shot and have the Coen Brothers’ quirky sense of humour, and there are some fine performances from the large ensemble.
In A Nutshell:
Quirky, fun and beautifully shot, but unfortunately, due to the six film format, not all of the stories work.
James Franco and Zoe Kazan’s separate stories are excellent
The look and feel of the six films
Not all the stories work such as the Liam Neeson one