There are few directors in the world that can get cinephiles as excited as the Coen Brothers. The famed directors duo broke into the mainstream long ago, with the instantaneous hits “Blood Simple” and “Raising Arizona” in the 1980s. Since then, they’ve released several cultural touchstones, including “Fargo” and “No Country for Old Men,” which won Best Picture. The Coens have long fantasized about the Western, and bring that slow burn mentality into nearly every film. Now, they’ve teamed up with Netflix to release “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” and the result looks delightful.
The trailer for the new anthology film dropped today. The film features six different tales, each focused on different characters. The cast is star-studded in a Coen’s kind of way, featuring some of the best character actors working. Tom Waits, Tim Blake Nelson, James Franco, and Zoe Kazan all headline segments. The film may feel like a series of disparate stories on its face, but if anyone can make this work, it’s the Coens.
The film already made its festival bow and impressed those at the Venice Film Festival. There, the film took home the screenplay award from the Jury. It rather quietly worked itself up to a 77 on Metacritic, a decent score for a film of this kind. Given how weak the original screenplay race looks early on, the Coens may find themselves in the hunt for an Oscar there. The film was originally conceived as a limited series set to premiere on Netflix. The fact that the Coens and Netflix agreed to retool it into a feature remains interesting. However, with the film potentially breaking into the Oscar race, that feels a bit less surprising.