The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) – The Coen brothers’ Intriguing Anthology

Lately, I’ve watched too many Coen brothers’ movies. In previous days, I watched three or four films that I watched for one day. But, that’s an exception. What I love about Coen brothers is that they are different from others. Sure, so many modern directors are worth mentioning. However, one of them is Coen brothers. For this film, a recent release from Netflix has come out. The title later became one of the titles that attracted our attention. And this time, Coen Brothers takes you into a world of western aka cowboys anthologies with six different stories. So many big casts are there including Tim Blake Nelson, James Franco, and Liam Neeson.

“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” seems to be a title that is quite a troll. So are the other Coen brothers films. They really like toying with us. Anyway, this is an anthology film. It presents through a literary storybook, first edition 1873. The book is a full-page. A variety of interesting illustrations. All of that will draw you slowly in such an absurd western world.

Tim Blake Nelson as Buster Scruggs is a man in a white hat. He became one of the fugitives but was not as a fugitive in general. He is kind of like Bugs Bunny. However, the look of this idiot is really deceiving. He entered into a saloon. Everyone is mocking him. But, just wait for the twist. This first segment consists of stories that focus on the film’s title itself. It’s full of wild imagination from the author. Describes something absurd and black comedy spices. Country songs by Carter Burwell are really thick. The first segment is just attached to the heart.

“Near Algodones” is the second segment. This time, James Franco acts as a band robber gone wrong. A comedy can. Of course, too, it’s a dark comedy. There is a punchline at the end and running gag. Being a character who is always unlucky, this segment has finally become a meme. Just love when James Franco quote: “first time.”

“Meal Ticket” is the next story and this segment is out of the box. It’s just out of nowhere. The segment turns depressed, gloomy, and cruel. I mean, it’s our real life. But this segment nuts it. Initially comedy, then sadness. There is Liam Neeson as a traveling showman with hard drinking. Harry Melling as an orator armless and legless young man. He gave us the poetry of bedtime. It’s one of the greatest performances so far. Tim Blake Nelson is great as well as James Franco. Liam Neeson is also great.

“All Gold Canyon” suddenly gave me an impression of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain. Although, it’s just another case. This segment is inspired by Jack London. Tom Waits is just great at this segment. This segment is also a one-man show without any dialogue between characters. This segment’s cinematography is just gorgeous. It’s one of the best at this point if we discuss it more.

“The Gal Who Got Rattled” is the fifth segment. Supported by such amazing performance, this is one part which is a little fast-paced. The character is great, as well as the drama. The ending is just ridiculous but hard to laugh at. Bill Heck, Zoe Kazan, and Grainger Hines are the best in this segment. This segment was inspired by a story by Stewart Edward White. “The Mortal Remains” uses a setting that is so narrow. Besides, all the actors brought the best performances. This segment is more of a narrative where the characters bring a story. Later, there is a twist between the characters. It’s similar to Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight.”

In total, there are six stories with different characters. For people, it’s hard to try to get into the film. The memorable impression is also difficult to obtain. All of these segments seemed to end tragically but most used comedy traits. The first segment is so fun to watch. Tim Blake Nelson’s performance with its accent is so thick. The script written by Coen brothers is also thick with western dialogues. The third segment turns upside-down. It’s not comedy tough just a little. I think the fifth segment is the most ridiculous one. It’s just useless yet funny. But, it’s also hard to laugh with it. The fourth and final segment is different from the others. These two segments end with ambiguity, the main characters, which they not die.

The six stories presented are actually not too complicated to understand. On the other hand, “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” is a Coen brothers’ trademark satire. The cinematography from various segments has its uniqueness. This film fits so well with the vibe such as “The Hateful Eight” or “Django Unchained” where Quentin Tarantino directed them. It’s a contemporary western, Native American, and other issues. The accent is great. The setting is beautiful. The performance as its best. There is some part so short. But, it doesn’t damage the experience. Just watch it go. It’s a worthy Coen brothers movie especially fans or even non-fans.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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