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"Ballad Buster Scruggs": what came out of the first Cohen Brothers series, which was remade into a movie?

Rough, but interesting film Almanac Cohen brothers about the hard life in the Wild West.


On the table is a voluminous book with a green cover and the title “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and Other Stories from the Wild West.” It opens slowly so that the viewer can see from the table of contents that he is waiting for him in the next 2 hours - as many as six independent stories about life in the forgotten Wild West, filled with tragedy, black humor and branded Koen reflections on life. Buster Scruggs (Tim Blake Nelson) travels around cities, sings songs and beautifully kills people, robber-loser (James Franco) trying to escape from fate, a homeless artist (Liam Neeson) until then until the time cashing in on armless and legless cripple actor, grandfather (Tom Waits) breaks through a huge clearing in search of gold, a young girl (Zoi Kazan) goes to an unknown future and falls in love, and the five passengers of the stage are metaphorically-anecdotally talking about human nature.

Frame from the film “Ballad Buster Scruggs”

Frame from the film “Ballad Buster Scruggs”

As you know, originally Ballads was a six-part series for Netflix, but right to the announcement of the Venetian line-up were reduced and presented in the form of a two-hour film. The decision, of course, is offensive, but, we will assume, the justified is still the brothers (or those who stand higher) know better which format is more suitable for the novels. Another thing is that when viewing 15-25-minute shorts inadvertently, but the thought arises that the story on the screen is short. True, not due to the fact that because of the cut scenes it is impossible to catch the plot thread - quite the contrary, somewhere the material is simply not enough for an independent short story.

Frame from the film “Ballad Buster Scruggs”

Frame from the film “Ballad Buster Scruggs”

The problem is that “Ballads” fall into the main trap of the movie divided into episodes (without this, alas, in no way) - some stories are so beautiful that they seem to be future classics, while others leave the embryo of a smile on the face at best. The initial novel-musical with another interesting Cohen antagonist and a sudden final short film are particularly notable - chamber and philosophical reasoning on the five about life and death, which is ideally suited to the slogan of the film “Stories live forever. People are not. ” Somewhere behind them are a funny story about the fatalism of the hero James Franco, a tragic story about the pragmatic Zoe Kazan and an even more tragic timeless parable about show business, well, the modest, but very beautiful story about the gold miner with the face of Tom Waits closes the charts.

I am glad that after so many years the brothers do not lose grip and from the second (or the third - how to count here) going into the western genre, they gave out an organic film to the Wild West, but on universal themes. The lack of favorite Koenov idiots perfectly replaces their corporate style, sincere, but devoid of sentimentalism, the odyssey of heroes and a whole list of motives from the filmography, a crime that did not go according to plan, a mandatory but unfair punishment and evil irony. One pity, the fraternal genius was not enough for the whole film.

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