NYFF ’18 Review: ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ is a Wild, Witty, and Hollow Patchwork

Tim Blake Nelson in 'The Ballad of Buster Scruggs' © Annapurna

Gather ‘round, folks, because the Coen Brothers have another tale to tell—six tales, in fact. With their anthology project The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, the pair revisit some well-tread ground—death, greed, and comedy in the Old West—through a series of storybook vignettes that are just as violent (and twice as witty) as any Grimm fairytale. None of the film’s individual chapters achieve anything the directors haven’t already given us in spades, but the pieces come together to form an intriguing, if somewhat hollow, collection, resembling more of a patchwork quilt from a forgotten civilization than a feature-length Hollywood film.

Tim Blake Nelson in ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ © Annapurna

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