The Coens head West (and to Netflix) in the grimly comic anthology The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs


The Old West is Coen country. Senselessly brutal and rich with rapscallions, it’s a backlot backdrop perfectly suited to the preoccupations of these sibling movie brats. Yet for all the ways the genre has crept into their catalog—a sagely cowboy narrator, an oater-within-the-film, sprawling frontiers of the Depression-era South and 1980s Texas—Joel and Ethan have only once officially dabbled in the premier blockbuster form of classic Hollywood, with their mostly irony-free remake of True Grit. Before now, that is. As if making up for lost time, their new Netflix anthology film The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs offers six Coen horse operas for the price of one. They run a gamut of conventions, proving just how much landscape—geographic and narrative—the Western really covers. What they all convey, some more comically than others, is how short and pitiless life could be in this heavily mythologized era.

Source: The Coens head West (and to Netflix) in the grimly comic anthology The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs