The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

A wanted sharp-shooter arrives at a busy saloon. A cowboy attempts to rob a small bank. A young limbless orator travels with his ageing, opportunistic handler. An old prospector searches for a hidden gold pocket. A betrothed woman finds herself travelling alone in a wagon train. Five strangers take a carriage ride together. These six stories make up the latest offering from the Coen brothers, a straight-to-Netflix western anthology of mostly consistent quality and impeccable casting.
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O Brother, Where Art Thou?

This review was originally written as part of my USA Road Trip series over at French Toast Sunday.

Everett, Pete and Delmar (George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson) have just escaped from a chain gang in 1930s Mississippi, with the intention of recovering the loot from the burglary that resulted in Everett’s incarceration, before the area within which it is hidden becomes flooded in a few days time. The three men – at least two of whom are amongst the stupidest creations the Coen brothers have ever concocted, which is saying a great deal – have a long way to go and a short time to get there, and their journey isn’t made any easier by the lawmen on their tails and the various obstacles that must be overcome, not least of which is coping with each other’s company. Continue reading

No Country for Old Men

In this most bleak and convoluted offering from the Coen brothers you rarely witness a characters ultimate destiny, although they are hinted at enough to make a fair assumption. Josh Brolin’s Llewelyn Moss, a welder out hunting deer in south west Texas, stumbles upon a botched drug deal and, finding a suitcase full of money, goes immediately to the authorities before returning home to his wife and living a largely uneventful life. No, of course not, he legs it, instigating a game of cat and mouse with Javier Barden’s Anton Chigurh, a ruthless, near robotic hitman with an unusual and extreme set of morals, himself pursued by Tommy Lee Jones’ small town sheriff Ed Tom Bell. Featuring a stellar supporting cast including Woody Harrelson, Stephen Root and Kelly Macdonald, some incredible scenery, lensed by Oscar winning regular Coen cinematographer Roger Deakins and highly memorable dialogue lifted directly from Cormac McCarthy’s seminal novel of the same name, this is a truly inspirational and unique film. Bardem in particular completely embodies his character, becoming one of the most iconic villains to grace our screens in modern times. Brolin however strikes me as an actor from the ranks of Shia LaBoeuf and Sam Worthington, snapped up and promoted by big name directors without having the talent to back up the expectations, flooding the cinemas with frankly mediocre acting ability.
Choose film 8/10