This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
SammyBronkowitz’s review published on Letterboxd :
This review may contain spoilers.
The last time when the Coens made a western, it was my least favourite movie of theirs. This time it's more a mixed bag, with mostly positive results.
The first episode The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs is a crazy live action cartoon, that got the biggest laughs out of me. Mostly because it is the one that is really only played for laughs. The Coens never shied away from visual comedy, but it's weird to see them go THAT silly, although even here they can't get rid of their trademark dark humor. Honestly, I would love to see them develop a cartoon for Adult Swim. It could rival THE VENTURE BROS as the one smart thing that's running there.
Near Algodones is a short anecdote that also goes for dark humor and sillyness ("Pan shot!"), but in more Coen typical ways. I liked it, but it's nothing that really stands out.
Meal Ticket is a slow HOLY SHIT, THAT AMPUTEE WAS DUDLEY, THE FAT ASSHOLE KID THAT TORTURED HARRY POTTER WHENEVER HE HAD TO STAY WITH HIS AUNT AND UNCLE!!!!!!! I KNEW HE LOOKED FAMILIAR, BUT WHAT THE FUCK!? Uhm, where was I? Yeah, it's a slow burn fabel, that uncovers layer after layer, until it ends in a horrifying sad-but-true punchline, that comes across as (again, dark humored) joke, because of Liam Neeson's body language. All in all Neeson gives the best performance of the whole movie. Not saying the others all suck, but his mostly wordless one here, is one of the best things he ever did!
All Gold Canyon is maybe the most skippable thing that the Coens ever did. It kinda works as a realistic (I guess) look at a prospector's life, but when it's over, it left me with a "That's it?" feeling. And not in the usual Coen Brothers way. You know they love their aprupt endings, that make you think about what you saw, but this time it was more a shrug.
The Gal Who Got Rattled is another slow burn, but this time in full blown drama form. It took a while, until the story captured me, but by the end I was so invested, that I actually had to pause and take a breath, before I was able to continue with the next story.
The Mortal Remains is a light hearted epilogue, that gives a group of character actors the chance to entertain us with razor sharp dialogue.
I learned through the years that every Coen joint needs a second watch. Even the ones that I already loved the first time, are usually better the 2nd time around. (Except TRUE GRIT, which still leaves me surprisingly cold.) Can't wait to see where this one will land. So far I wouldn't put it in their top category, but only their top movies are some godddamn flawless masterpieces.
#125 in 2018