The high production value and outright quality add to a thrilling film, with each story giving a gut-wrenching twist or a genuinely significant moment to savour
Joel and Ethan Coen are almost certainly cinema’s most diverse filmmakers currently producing features (Maybe Spielberg beats them. Maybe); And The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs ignites a new style for them as an anthology film, set in the wild west. Focusing on six completely separate tales, the Coen’s have come together once again to produce a truly original, and brilliant, piece of film.
With stories stretching from Buster Scruggs’ (Tim Blake Nelson) own tale of the greatest gunman around, to the story of Harrison (Harry Melling) and Impresario (Liam Neeson) a travelling performance duo, there is almost no predicting what mood each new act of the anthology will look to evoke.
It is this unpredictability that makes The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs feel so special. The stories are strong and varied, with hugely intricate characters and a keen sense of how to get the best out of each short film. This also plays into the Coen’s hands with little to compare between the films, leaving a seamless run across all six stories.
The set design and on location shooting, noted for its incredible difficulty, are second to none, with clear effort placed into making the drama seem as authentic as possible. This especially goes for Zoe Kazan led ‘The Gal Who Got Rattled’, featuring an incredibly visual wagon journey across the desert. The long shots and continuous nature of the travel is imperative to giving the story it’s keen sense of real life.
The performances are sharp and witty, with a brilliant script backing a plethora of fascinating characters, each with a clear past and future. The Coen’s have clearly gone to great lengths to make this a fully rounded picture, no matter its method of distribution. The high production value and outright quality add to a thrilling film, with each story giving a gut-wrenching twist or a genuinely significant moment to savour.
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