The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
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All Critics (15)
| Top Critics (2)
| Fresh (12)
| Rotten (3)
[A] handsomely lensed slice of life ...
Fatherhood gets an incisive examination in "West of Sunshine," the short, sharp and rewarding feature debut of Australian writer-director Jason Raftopoulos.
The endearing dynamic between the central father and son isn't enough to disguise the frailty of this material, as it lacks any continuity of suspense or the urgency necessary for hard-hitting stories like this.
introduces a new filmmaking talent in Jason Raftopoulus who blends grit and tenderness into a disarmingly poignant package.
Strong scenes abound, though there are some major stumbles in the film's tonal shifts as well as some inconsistencies in the story. Still, the film can't be faulted for its ambition or its widescreen cinematography.
Though Thom Neal's photography is at times needlessly jittery, the film offers a convincing visualisation of an urban jungle where its misguided protagonist is constantly making the wrong decisions.
This is mostly all about Hill and Perham, whose natural ease with each other works uncannily well in the bright moments here where the sun shines, however dimly.
...well written and well acted by all concerned...
Small scale, big-hearted, thematically ambitious and formally deft...
The film realises Raftopoulos's desire to deliver a film that looks as if it's been distilled from reality but in this instance, naturalism isn't enough. The judicious injection of a sense of heightened drama could have made all the difference.
A conventional but touching social-realist drama.
A drama crafted with precision and feeling, "West of Sunshine" succeeds admirably with its modest ambitions, as Jason Raftopoulos puts himself on the horizon as one to watch.
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