peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2018 11 23 TheBalladOfBusterScruggs

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

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Six short-ish Western pieces from the Coen brothers. The eponymous first is a Clint Eastwood-meets-O Brother, Where Art Thou? sorta thing. James Franco robs a bank in Near Algodones. Meal Ticket has Liam Neeson trying to make a crust as an impresario; I expected the chicken to deliver his comeuppance, somehow, even in the form of a twist, but instead the mike is dropped. Tom Waits prospects, empathises with an owl, all vaguely amusingly, in All Gold Canyon. The longest and best The Gal Who Got Rattled is about a caravan of migrants to Oregon. The final The Mortal Remains is a character study in a coach going somewhere. None are as punchy or topical as their best work; indeed most are at best bemusingly banal.

Anthony Lane. A. O. Scott. Dana Stevens.