The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Given the pristine colors, the precise framing, the clever and mellifluous dialogue, the (mostly) strong performances, that winking Coen hilarity, it’s rather too easy for the lasting impression of this film to be a pleasant one, even though the stories are almost unrelentingly bleak. Surely some are meant to be read as allegories, though that doesn’t really take the edge off something as starkly dark as ‘Meal Ticket’.  

My favorite segment was Zoe Kazan’s—the burgeoning love story was a welcome respite, at least while it lasted. And the uncertainty dialogue surely serves as a thematically unifying piece of writing, which for its obvious ambivalence towards all matters moral, spiritual, ontological, is graciously put in the mouth of a noble, self-sacrificing character rather than any of the host of avaricious, violent, solipsistic, gleefully amoral characters who populate the other tales.