The Bal­lad of Buster Scruggs

WESTERN DRAMA Net­flix

TV & Satellite Week - - Hot List -

Ocar-win­ners the Coen broth­ers re­turn to the world of the Western with six new sto­ries.

The Bal­lad of Buster Scruggs avail­able from Fri 16 nov, net­flix VER­SA­TILE AND IDIOSYNCRATIC

film-mak­ers the Coen broth­ers made their first foray into Westerns with their 2011 re­boot of the John Wayne clas­sic True Grit, star­ring Jeff Bridges in the lead role as griz­zled, hard-drink­ing law­man Rooster Cog­burn.

Now the mak­ers of a raft of award-win­ning films in­clud­ing Fargo and No Coun­try for Old Men have cre­ated their own Western, The Bal­lad of Buster Scruggs, which lands on Net­flix from this week.

The film, which fea­tures six sep­a­rate sto­ries, is a lov­ingly-crafted mix of trib­utes and pas­tiches, with Tim Blake Nel­son play­ing the singing sharp­shooter of the first story, also called The Bal­lad of Buster Scruggs.

The film also fea­tures the likes of Liam Nee­son, James Franco, singer Tom Waits, Tyne Daly, Brendan Glee­son and The Of­fice ac­tor Ralph Ine­son in half a dozen rip­ping yarns about gold prospec­tors, bank rob­bers, wagon trains, lynch­ings and other Western sta­ples.

FRON­TIER TALES

‘These are sto­ries that were writ­ten over 25 years re­ally,’ ex­plains older brother Joel of the pro­ject’s ori­gins. ‘They were put in a drawer be­cause they were short movies and we didn’t know what we were go­ing to do with them. Then eight or 10 years ago we started think­ing: “Well maybe we could do them to­gether.”’

So why use the an­thol­ogy for­mat, which the broth­ers have not at­tempted be­fore?

‘It’s a weird an­i­mal,’ ad­mits Joel. ‘None of us re­ally knew what to call it or how to clas­sify it. The sto­ries could be seen as tracks on a record. It’s a strange for­mat, but it grew out of the na­ture of how the sto­ries came into ex­is­tence.’

Nel­son, who sang the Gram­my­win­ning In the Jail­house Now in

O Brother, Where Art Thou? and also sings in Buster Scruggs, says that his ad­mi­ra­tion for Joel and Ethan is still grow­ing.

‘They fi­nally know what they’re do­ing!’ jokes Nel­son.

‘They are in­cred­i­bly metic­u­lous and pre­pared as film-mak­ers. When you get to the set, there are no de­ci­sions be­ing made that could have been made ear­lier. That rigour pays off, be­cause it al­lows for the ac­tors to be ut­terly free, to have all the time they could pos­si­bly want to do jus­tice to the amaz­ing writ­ing.’

TOM WAITS’ PROSPEC­TOR GETS INTO A TER­RI­BLE SCRAPE IN All Gold Canyon

TIM BLAKE NEL­SON AS SINGING GUN­SLINGERBUSTER SCRUGGS

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