The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
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All Critics (11)
| Top Critics (9)
| Fresh (11)
| Rotten (0)
Sutton's approach is observation: We're not so much pulled into a narrative as watching images float in ethereal atmospheres.
Observant but not revealing, free-form but not quite experimental, the obliquely titled "Pavilion" is a mood piece in search of a construct.
If you're already on the movie's wavelength, it can be entrancing. If not, "Pavilion" may come off as flat and aimless.
Mr. Sutton tends toward quiet. And while his characters don't say a lot in these 70 ephemeral minutes, he says enough to make you wonder what's next.
A startlingly perceptive first feature.
The beauty of the footage is undeniable, and the aimlessness never overstays its welcome as the film documents that strange stretch in our lives when nothing seems to matter more than the present moment, suspended in a sort of idle immortality.
The lack of anything resembling a narrative at times makes Pavilion feel more like a demo-reel than a movie, but the fleeting moments Sutton has captured are so vibrant that they accumulate into something that hums.
George Washington this isn't, but there's enough heft here that the comparison can be tastefully made.
A cynical advisor told Sutton he should market his film as a documentary. That label would prepare potential viewers for Pavilion's lack of story, but it would make a lie of the movie's patient, finely drawn loveliness.
Shallow-focus photography sharpens the action and gives the seemingly banal images a sense of drama, capturing the urgency of childhood without resorting to histrionics.
A lovely sonatina of a movie, brief and aching.
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