The Coen Brothers return to the Old West, a territory they’ve filmed in before, but beyond that their new movie marks a lot of firsts for their storied career.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, the new feature-length film starring Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) — who leads an all-star cast — finds Joel and Ethan Coen doing things they’ve never done before: shooting digitally rather than on film, telling an anthology of stories rather than a singular one, and working for Netflix on a project that will only be available to most people on that streaming service rather than in theaters (where it’ll have a very limited run and distribution).
The movie was also originally (or, at least, reportedly) intended to be a 10-part mini-series, but earlier this summer it was announced that The Ballad of Buster Scruggs would simply be a feature-lengthy movie instead.
Personally I have mixed feelings about all of these prospects — the virtual exclusive on Netflix being the most frustrating — but the shots in this trailer are absolutely gorgeous, and occasionally stunning. The cast is a lineup of riches, too.
Some early reviews haven’t taken to the anthology structure but the Coens did go on to win the Best Screenplay award at the prestigious Venice Film Festival, so there’s that.
The sweeping collection of Wild West tales stars Nelson, James Franco, Tyne Daly, Brendan Gleeson, Zoe Kazan, Liam Neeson, Tom Waits, Clancy Brown, Jefferson Mays, Stephen Root, and many more.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs debuts on Netflix (and in limited theatrical release) on November 16, 2018.