The Coen Bros. are apparently on a lifelong quest to make every single kind of movie. They’ve already made film noirs, crime capers, screwball comedies, bluegrass musicals, spy films, religious parables, remakes and westerns, to name a few, so an old-fashioned anthology flick was bound to pop up on their resumé eventually.
Well, it’s here, it’s called The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, and it’s one of their finest films. It’s a collection of wild west stories, each with different attitudes and cast members, but all united by a common theme: ironic death.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs doesn’t have a framing device to speak of. There’s a book, someone opens it, and we slowly turn the page from one story to the next. Never mind who’s reading it or why. You’re reading it, so pay attention, it’s going to be good.