The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Its third installation “Meal Ticket” is dreary to those who can bear it.
It is a spectacle of being too attached to one’s own affliction; as it is a reminder of one’s detached sense of humaneness when put up against the need to survive. In the “Meal Ticket,” the relationship between the characters played by Liam Neeson and Harry Melling is of a deplorable one.
Harry Melling’s character — who is a dramatic artist with no limbs — is a manifestation of grief and grit. The conflicting qualities present in all of human nature. And Liam Neeson’s character — traveling the West with the amputee — has a lot in common with a materialist lacking compunction and loyalty. The quality one considers selfish and intolerable.
The story, and as it progresses, gives you the feeling of being too close to the heart. It’s not in how the story materializes. But in how it ends just as well as it possibly can. An unchanging soul living in a changing world. Where you do whatever it takes to make it livable. “Meal Ticket” is a striking storytelling experience of all loss — which can surpass even itself — in the face of pain and struggle.