The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
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All Critics (11)
| Top Critics (7)
| Fresh (5)
| Rotten (6)
The director, Harold Guskin, and writer, Sandra Jennings, show admirable patience in letting the story unspool, and the actors reward them.
None of it hangs together - particularly as the film heads into his final third, and you realize director Harold Guskin and screenwriter Sandra Jennings don't have a clue as to how to wrap things up.
Gandolfini and Janssen dance a delicate minuet around one another, pacing out a slow, quiet revelation of the shared past that has paralyzed their wills to happiness and change.
Costa brings a nice, lived-in sexiness to the evocatively shot setting, and Gandolfini settles into his character with extraordinary skill and sensitivity.
Brando-wheezing Gandolfini never slums it, but there's still no shaking the sense that a pro has shown up for amateur hour.
Any moments of honesty are immediately drowned out by a blast of heartfelt tunes that assure you the scene you've been watching was significant.
Nearly drowns in its own tears.
In terms of pace, Down the Shore walks a very narrow line between deliberate and utterly languid, but there are just enough strong performances and intriguing (if messy) dynamics to make it work.
A small-scale, working-class character study that's never quite as nuanced and dramatic as it aspires to be.
Down the Shore suggests what might happen if TBS and Bruce Springsteen were to collaborate on a sitcom set in hell.
The virtue of this standard family tale is James Gandolfini's most substantial feature role to date.
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