The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
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All Critics (20)
| Top Critics (6)
| Fresh (19)
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| DVD (3)
If you've never seen Maddin's work, Cowards Bend the Knee is a good place to start.
There's no denying the imagination and technical ingenuity on display, but this clearly ranks as one of Maddin's less accessible efforts, which is definitely saying something.
Lurid, tawdry and untoward entertainment from Canada's reigning mad genius.
It's bliss, I tell you!
There is also something rather splendid about this extended-play peep show, as if Mr. Maddin had stumbled across a hitherto lost archive of cinema's less-than-innocent past.
What's truly extraordinary about this movie -- which strikes me on two viewings as Maddin's masterpiece -- is that it not only plays like a dream but feels like one.
Shot in five days, "Cowards Bend The Knee" is not exactly automatic writing-Maddin knows exactly which Greek tragedies he's pillaging-but it feels like a direct flood from the unconscious. His most dreamlike film, it's also his most heartfelt.
... a miniature, barely more than an hour long... but it bubbles over with lust, guilt, and betrayal, not to mention weirdness.
Plays like a fever dream recalled upon waking, told with the immediacy of fear couched in relentless pleasure.
A dreamlike tale told by an idiosyncratic storyteller who is hyper-imaginative.
If you're a fan of Maddin's expressionist style, you'll find the humor within. Everyone else will be scratching their heads, despite Maddin's extraordinary visual imagination.
Although only an hour long, the movie -- which uses intertitles to convey dialogue -- may seem endless to those who have not acquired a taste for Maddin's surreal mayhem.
This is kinda what Un Chien Andalou would be like if Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel were Canadians raised on Hockey and Canadian Whiskey. A surreal, semi-auto-biographical (in ways only Guy Maddin knows I'm sure), silent film featuring abortions, amputations, strangulations (including a cop (!)), fisting, boobies, wax sculptures and of course Hockey. This film is difficult to summarize so I won't bother. I can say that Guy Maddin is quickly becoming one of my favourite film makers from Canada or otherwise and everyone owes it to themselves to check out his unique films. Especially if your a fan of Silent Era films, Surrealism, German Expressionism or movies like Eraserhead, Tetsuo or Begotten. Strongly Recommended.
The impossible to summarize, dreamlike plot features a hockey player with a wandering eye, abortions, seductive ghosts, hand transplants, matricide, an ice breast, slapstick routines, and wax galoots. Shot as a silent film with disorienting, stuttering editing, "Cowards" is shocking, stylish and often hilarious, playing out like a mix of "Un Chien Andalou," "Mad Love," the Three Stooges, and "NHL on the Fly."
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