NYFF Evaluation: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Like Hail, Caesar!, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a film about motion pictures. Hail, Caesar! took the tropes of the old school studio footage and turned them into an interconnected backlot pastiche of cinematic kinds. You had composites of real-life figures and homages to bygone genres, all enjoying out on a kooky, scale-model model of Hollywood. I nonetheless really feel like that film would have benefited from being a collection moderately than a characteristic—the world the Coen brothers constructed was larger and richer than the runtime.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, which had its North American premiere on the 2018 New York Movie Competition, will get round a few of these issues by embracing the anthology type. The six quick movies that comprise the film are discrete, with no try and interconnect them. Every quick inhabits a selected western subgenre, creating these self-contained, visually and verbally distinct cinematic worlds for every story to play out. There’s a Gene Autry singin’ cowboy story that embraces and subverts that type. There’s a John Ford-style wagon prepare epic in regards to the conflict between frontier life and domesticity. There’s even a brief that’s just a little like Robert Altman’s traditional revisionist western McCabe & Mrs. Miller, with the identical icy, transactional notions about relationships.
Your enjoyment of Buster Scruggs will rely completely in your love and data of westerns.