The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
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All Critics (16)
| Top Critics (3)
| Fresh (9)
| Rotten (7)
A strikingly-beautiful western with an A-grade cast
An almost classic if it were not for the silly feminine element which hurts clever story.
Great fun western
Hits the mark with its mix of Western theatrics and cross-cultural insights.
Underrated Selleck western.
Tom Selleck's best Western has him fighting a racist landowner (Rickman) in Australia. There's loads of horseback riding, and shooting, and fighting and showdowns, the stuff and fabric of Westerns, sure, but what makes this work is the wonderful Laura San Giacomo as a woman traumatized by her past. And she steals a Western, that muy macho domain of lore, right in front of everyone.
The idea to take the typical Western plot (stranger gets hired by sadistic land owner and turns against him) and move it to Australia is quite good. Of course, the majority of the film does still feel like a Western, but still the Australian Outback and especially the Aboriginals do make for a very unique atmosphere throughout the film, even if the rest is taken from the pile of usual ingredients. Tom Selleck makes for a likable and charming leading man and we already know Alan Rickman can play wonderfully mean bad guys. It is the female lead with the tragic back story that sometimes feels a bit over the top, and some of the dialogs could have been a bit spicier. But the beautiful scenery, great shootouts and enthralling plot that does not shy away from maiming the innocent brings this film home. An entertaining and visually very pleasing adventure.
Quigley is an American sharpshooter moved to Australia. As in all Westerns, there is the good guy (Quigley) and the bad guy -- in this movie played by Alan Rickman. Their differences of opinion comes with the way Alan's character treats the local aborigines. As someone raised on Westerns featuring the American wild West, it is quite interesting to see a movie set in the Australian wilderness.
Poor old Tom Selleck, always been the poor mans Harrison Ford, the second choice 'Indiana Jones' or the last option action man. On his side though are his manly looks, his chiselled features and that famous manly facial hair that ensured Selleck is a mans man despite his failure at being in any really big films.
This long forgotten western is actually one of his best films in my opinion, the films title doesn't help its case for sure, it tends to give the impression of a silly comedy in the vain of 'Lightning Jack' with Paul Hogan but its nowhere close. Filmed on location in Australia instantly giving it that epic look with some awesome scenery and having a kind of 'Dances with Wolves-ish' plot really makes for a terrific adventure, yes there is some silly humour to raise a smile but it fits nicely and never really gets too daft to spoil.
Rickman as usual is splendid in his role as the wickedly nasty English cad hunting Aboriginal folk for sport, sure his performance is really the same as his 'Sheriff of Nottingham' from 'Robin Hood Prince of Thieves' but it works just as well here (Reynolds and Costner must have seen this and wanted the same for 'Hood' :) ).
The rest of the cast all perform well as immigrant Irish workers in the 1800's outback, everything looks great from sets to costume and real aborigine people seem to have been cast giving an even more realistic feel. A bit funny how Quigley never loses his customised rifle and everytime he's called to help people in danger he's conveniently set far away enabling him to use his fancy customised rifle to its full potential, its only at the end we do actually find out Quigley can look after himself without the rifle.
Great light hearted fun adventure which was set for Eastwood or McQueen to star which gives you a good idea of what to expect. The film also has a nice emotional theme too which isn't too strong but enough to add some quality and raise it above most other more silly boys own adventures.
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