The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
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All Critics (24)
| Top Critics (9)
| Fresh (19)
| Rotten (5)
The story has dramatic reversals, humor, suspense and plenty of colorful, eccentric characters.
"Earthwork" takes an unexpected swerve but one that adds layers of meaning and emotion to a film that is as beautiful and wrenching as it is unassuming.
Character actor John Hawkes, his rural demeanor tailor-made for hick pics, breaks through typecasting stereotypes in his nuanced portrayal of crop artist Stan Herd in Chris Ordal's ambitious Earthwork.
John Hawkes brings a laconic soulfulness to this ultra-low-key, only mildly involving tale of artistic pursuit.
Directed, written and produced by Chris Ordal, "Earthwork" is best left to TV.
Earthwork's narrative follows too-familiar templates, and its characters lack the careful detail of Herd's own art.
While we're grateful for Ordal's introduction to this atypical artist, the film's focus on the sentimental side of the story is at the expense of showing us enough of his terrestrial achievements.
Hawkes is finally getting the great roles he has long deserved.
It's a rare film that makes viewers love a fellow who takes needless chances.
Ultimately, "Earthwork" poses an interesting question. Does the true value of art lie in its creation or the pleasure that others get while viewing it?
This is a movie about work and about the satisfaction that a person can find in accomplishing something.
Writer-director Chris Ordal does something a lot of young filmmakers either can't do, or consciously try to avoid -- tell a simple story, simply, and without overindulging in stylistic gimmicks or emotional manipulation.
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