The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
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View All Hard to be a God News
All Critics (37)
| Top Critics (7)
| Fresh (35)
| Rotten (2)
| DVD (1)
If you're a fan of 'Andrei Rublev' and 'Stalker', don't miss this monumental film.
Nasty, brutish, and long.
The late director Aleksei Guerman's last film is a grandly arbitrary carnival of neo-medieval depravity. It's also a mudpunk allegory of Russian barbarism and backwardness.
Not only an unforgettable individual masterpiece but probably one of the capital-G Great Films.
The roiling setting alone enforces a medieval mind-set that feels genuine: brutal yet often jovially rambunctious and crude, pre-psychological in its sense of the cheapness of life and yet rich with local custom and detail.
It is grotesque and deranged and Hieronymus Bosch-like, and damn if it isn't a bona fide vision-but of what, exactly?
An allegory of Russian barbarism.
It may be unpleasant to watch, but despite technically being science fiction it's powerful and real.
There's something completely mesmerising about it, caught not least in the stunning cinematography of Vladimir Ilyin and Yury Klimenko, which transforms our expectations of black-and-white into a remarkable symphony of grey.
Logic melts away on this phantasmagorical trip into a fog-shrouded, mud-encrusted universe.
The nastiness is so intricate, so monumentally revolting, that it inspires a perverse new reverence, or gratitude, for the real world into which you will soon be able to escape.
Hard To Be A God is an experience, and the film is so richly textured and devotedly realized that it rocks you into a hypnotic trance that can only be seen to be believed.
Three hours of shit, piss, pleghm, blood and semen. It was an experience.
If this sounds redactive, it's only because I was expecting something more from the intriguing premise. Alas I found the narrative incoherent and the characters are all so vile that I was never gripped (though I was never bored either). On a technical, physical and atmospheric level, the film is undoubtedly a huge success.
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