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
As the Coens remind us, with their usual impish wit and impeccable craft, there's still a lot of pleasure to be mined from those conventions. But there are lessons to be learned, too.
Strikes me as mid-to-upper range Coen fare... [Includes] their extraordinary jeweler's-eye attention to detail, their gift for concocting dialogue in plummy 19th-century vernacular, their lyrical embrace of wide-open landscapes, and their woeful nihilism.
This is the sort of film that traditionally marks the start of an artist's "late phase" - one in which old motifs are brought back in different keys and tested, and in which the bounds of realism are loosened. For the Coens, it's a thrilling new frontier.
In the movie's most memorable storylines, the filmmakers appear to be working through some sort of problem in their, and our, relationship to the mythology of the American West.
[It] can be thought of as a Coen brothers concept album. It works just fine in sequence, but some tracks... only need to be played once.
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