The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
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All Critics (15)
| Top Critics (2)
| Fresh (14)
| Rotten (1)
| DVD (2)
This soggy picture allows the disintegration of a human being to be almost as dull as the way he earns his living -- and that is appalling.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder has a genius for detailing the pain of suppressed emotional states, and even at its most achingly deliberate, his style in dealing with the petit bourgeois mentality is a source of endless fascination.
The Merchant of Four Seasons is often a difficult watch with little opportunity for respite, but it is also a rewarding, challenging and worthwhile one.
Fassbinder is going for realism, but almost a heightened, stagey version of it. This strategy makes the film more deeply felt, amplifying the awkwardness.
An unforgettable cantata, raspy and plangent, every composition attuned to circles of torment and frustration
What makes [Fassbinder's] vision so riveting, however, is its brutal honesty, brilliant theatricality, and masterly cinematic execution.
The soul-sucking nature of capitalism drives this brilliant film, but the rich characters and the almost constant tension keep it emotionally resonant.
Fully realized emotionally draining but restrained melodrama.
A pivotal work in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's career because it was the first film he made after meeting and befriending his muse Douglas Sirk in 1971.
[Fassbinder] places the audience where they can be at once sympathetic to the characters' plights yet are able to be analytical when considering their actions.
Bleak to the point of near-horror
Fassbinder stops experimenting and goes back to storytelling, and the film is all the better for it.
"The Merchant of Four Seasons" is a grim portrait of a troubled fruit seller. Scarred by an unloving mother and unrewarding stints in the Foreign Legion and the police, he struggles to keep his modest business afloat while enduring a loveless marriage in which both partners are unfaithful. He drinks too much and beats his wife, but his self-loathing becomes wholly unmanageable after he suffers a heart attack and can't work anymore. He hires others to peddle his stock, but they only make his masculinity feel more threatened.
"Merchant" is actually easier to watch than many Fassbinder films. Its scenes are shot in brightly lit interiors, and there is no murky musical score to endure (in fact, there's no score at all). The cast is loaded with good faces to study, and a splash of full frontal nudity (alas, the luminous Hanna Schygulla stays dressed) will tickle the audience's libido.
A turning point in Fassbinder's career with the consolidation of his style as a storyteller; a film in which he explores emotional tragedy using a theatrical frame (the acting, mise-en-scène, the distinct palette of colors) to make a striking commentary on the petit bourgeois mentality.
[font=Century Gothic]In "The Merchant of Four Seasons", Hans Epp(Hans Hirschmuller), an ex-soldier and former policeman, is now a fruit vendor along with his wife, Irmgard(Irm Hermann). After one particular argument between the couple, Hans goes off to get drunk. The couple argues again after he is late coming home which is followed by Hans beating Irmgard. When he wakes up in the morning, he finds Irmgard and their daughter Renate(Andrea Schober) gone. They fled to his mother's apartment where he soon locates them. When Irmgard calls her lawyer to rightfully ask for a divorce, Hans collapses with a heart attack.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"The Merchant of Four Seasons" is an effective look at how society looks down on laborers and the work they do. It also brings up important questions about what constitutes a success. But it is impossible to have sympathy for any man who beats his wife, a truly unforgivable act.[/font]
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