This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Yoav Agam’s review published on Letterboxd :
This review may contain spoilers.
I'm feeling partial about this movie.. It's very well made and full of fun, amusing, surprising moments as well as deep, philosophical ones, beautifully tied together in a bundle around the wild western theme. With that said, some of the stories felt rather unfinished, some of them even, I dare say, kind of pointless.
I will now elaborate on each of the stories.
1) The Ballad of Buster Scruggs - A very sweet and lovely introduction to the wild west theme of the movie. Buster Scruggs himself is a funny fellow that breaks the 4th wall and serves as a narrator of sorts. His character helps break the ice and set the tone. This segment is filled with dark humor at its best but lacks an actual plot in my opinion. If you wanted to use words to tell this story in an amusing and interesting way, I bet you couldn't. The fact Scruggs is there is what justifies this story. It's a 4/5 one for me.
2) Near Algodones - I don't have much to say about this one.. The first scene is pretty brilliant, with the bank teller being unexpectedly brave and full of personality. From the end of that scene he does not appear anymore and the plot becomes pretty pointless. Just a series of events that are somewhat iconic and interesting on their own, but don't connect to one complete story. It's a 2.5/5 at best for me.
3) Meal Ticket - A beautiful concept with a really interesting philosophical message, but I wish it was told in a more complicated and engaging way. It's almost too straightforward and one-thing-leads-to-another kind of simple. 3.5/5
4) All Gold Canyon - I'm not familiar with Jack London's original version of this story but this one was my second favorite story from this film. Waits' acting is very impressive. His personality in this piece is magnetic and you can't help being involved in his efforts throughout his journey. The writing is brilliant- the character says only what is absolutely necessary- Very little. Short and sweet and very simple, and definitely unexpected. 4.5/5
5) The Gal Who Got Rattled - This one is my absolute favorite. This is also the second story out of two that aren't original Coen plots.. which means a lot, I guess. Anyway, the Coen brothers do have a great part of this story's success, so no disrespect to them. A very engaging story, full of ups and downs, and the only one of these I could imagine being turned into a full length movie. Emotionally complex and filled with unique, intriguing social scenarios. 5/5
6) The Mortal Remains - Maybe I didn't understand this one? It just felt so unfinished. The characters are well-written and the conversation is highly interesting on a psychological level, but what with the ending? Is there a message about death? I don't care for endings this open... No closure whatsoever. I don't know. Definitely wouldn't have chosen this one as the final chord. Really doesn't strike me as an appropriate finale. 3/5
1) The Girl Who Got Rattled
2) All Gold Canyon
3) The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
4) Meal Ticket
5) The Mortal Remains
6) Near Algodones
Overall, a pretty neat ensemble. Not entirely cohesive in its quality throughout the different segments but every one of them has moments of brilliance in it, and the whole thing is produced with great talent.