Buffalo '66

Buffalo '66 ★★★★½

"We're the couple that doesn't touch one another."

Vincent Gallo presses forward with his ego and chaotic on-set methods to deliver the strikingly yearning and romantic, if not fucked up and abusively depressing, 'Buffalo '66,' shot with breathtaking symmetry that would make Wes Anderson smile while offering snapshots of pain and regret alongside the rare comforts of love and physical connection. The performances are heartfelt and outstanding, locked into an internal tug-of-war where characters fight their innermost desires and struggles instead of fully embracing the new opportunities presented to them.

And while Gallo's Billy Brown seems like nothing more than an abusive bully with anger problems in the first act, the slow reveal of his lifestyle and family troubles via flashback paints a clearer picture as to why he's so fucked up and on edge. His frustration is palpable but typically conjoined with an air of dark humor and laughter. Christina Ricci's quiet, soft, understanding take as Layla affords a delightful counter-balance to his manic nature, despite herself stepping out of an Almodóvar film as a kidnap victim with Stockholm Syndrome.

Overall, 'Buffalo '66' is a devastating portrait of childhood abuse and mistreatment that lingers and festers into something dangerous and unhealthy, where murder and suicide is plotted and sought out over a simple error entirely out of one's hands. It goes to some stunning lengths but works as well as a quietly twisted romantic journey as it does an introspective look at mental health, with fresh and realistic portrayals that go a long way in holding one's attention. Despite its unhealthy approach, there's a surprising amount of love and attachment on display here, a really great indie that's worth your time.

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