The Reel Review
Directors Joel and Ethan Coen (Fargo, No Country For Old Men, True Grit) have crafted a love letter to the Western genre in this Netflix original film featuring six vignettes about 19th century life on the American frontier. The film has everything Western fans could hope for – stunningly sumptuous scenic vistas, a nostalgic score, and an abundance of tropes – outlaws, saloons, gunfights, poker playing, covered wagons, Indians, gold miners, damsels in distress, just to name many. Add to that, the Coen brothers’ wacky brand of storytelling, and it’s a fresh take on familiar terrain. While the quirky film may not be for everyone, and some vignettes are way better than others – (if you only have time only for one, make it the first one, starring Blake Tim Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) as the hilarious titular character – seriously, this vignette alone could have been its own film) – the quick-witted dialogue and unique format is a heck of a good time for those who love both the Coens and Westerns.
• The poker hand that Buster Scruggs refuses to play – two pair, aces and eights – is known as the “Dead Man’s Hand” – reportedly the hand Wild Bill Hickok held when he was shot and killed in 1876 in what is now Deadwood, South Dakota.
• Blake Tim Nelson and Stephen Root also appeared in the Coens’ 2000 film, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
• This is the Coen brothers’ longest film (132 minutes) and first one shot on digital.