My never-ending Netflix list of movies and television shows continues growing. I watch one thing and add 10 more. Although, The choice to watch The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) came easy. Not only did Netflix post the trailer and thumbnail front-and center-on the homepage, but it’s directed by the Coen brothers and has a super stacked cast. The movie is structured into six separate anthology tales set in the Wild West of the American frontier. Vignettes, Much like Paris, je-t'aime (2006), play out under the same backdrop with enough time to establish full-blown characters and conclude with a nod to a universal takeaway.
There are different kinds of “Coen Bros.” movies, but The Ballad of Buster Scruggs falls into the likes of Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) and No Country for Old Men (2007). When it ended, I didn’t entirely understand it, but I kept thinking about it. What ultimately struck me was that I found myself asking questions that I always ask myself after finishing their movies: “Why do I always want to know more when it comes to the Coen bothers’ movies? Why do I care?”… The film’s handful of songs kept cycling in my mind and I reflected on the ominous pacing that emphasized seemingly insignificant moments and things.
Time and again, they always have me wanting more. The way they present their subject matter is fascinating, and I think it’s because their movies aren’t abstract. Everything the audience sees and hears is for a very specific purpose.
The Coen Bros. have an unfailing ability of keeping an audience mulling over their films. Does that make the movie, “good?” I don’t know… What I do know is that I can’t stop watching and listening to Brendan Gleeson’s melancholic Irish ode to a former soldier in the final story…
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