This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Toby Tomic’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Creative step outside of the genre left me very confused.
The plot was suspenseful and unflinching but since I was unfamiliar with the Coen brothers style I wasn’t expecting the 2+2 logic and the lack of a formulaic 3rd act, the ending left me empty and confused as I was not sure what I had just seen. After a few Video essays (thanks lessons from the screenplay!) I finally understood what the film was trying to accomplish and appreciated it a bit more but was still annoyed that it took me that much time to figure it out.
The characters were quite bland and one dimensional though the way the Coen brothers showed character traits with the smallest things (the way Anton doesn’t say hello and just waits for someone to start speaking was genius). Plus Javier’s character alone is worth at least half a point as he is now one of my favourite antagonists.
The visuals had some very beautiful shots but made me realise I can’t stand fades as they are so ugly compared to the interesting visual style of directors like Edgar Wright. Whilst I was watching I felt strangely disconnected from the story and going back I realised it might have been because a large majority of the film doesn’t have a soundtrack. The music is barely there and when it is, it stays in the background and for someone like me that has never seen a film like this I didn’t connect with the story so much.
As for originality, there was plenty of stuff that took westerns genres into a new century and gave us a fresh point of view but I feel like it was more of bleak goodbye for the genre just as sheriff bell realises that the senseless violence of the new world will no longer fit into the good, bad and ugly formats.
Overall, it was definitely a lesson on interesting shots and expressing different character traits subtly with simple decisions but maybe it needs a rewatch once I understand the Coen brothers style more. Time to go find Fargo!