Buffalo '66

Buffalo '66 ★★★★½

Vincent Gallo terrifies me. A bad person playing a bad person, directed and co-written by a bad person with such... distant observance. Even Buffalo '66's intensity is cold on judgement. Like John Cassavetes meets Barbara Loden meets Gus Van Sant meets Gilles Carle, and they are all really into old NFL games to the point of imitating their aesthetic... meets Chantal Akerman, kind of. I don't know, she's somewhere in there.

It's extraordinary how bizarre Buffalo '66 is, knowing the context of its production, of Gallo's infamy, and all buried within a similarly off-kilter American independent scene. A self-described Conservative radical like Gallo is an outsider to the world of interesting art, and his own form of fictional villainy is not only wildly unpredictable, it also seems to resonate in Gallo's personal life based on what the film's cast and crew have had to say about him.

Buffalo '66 is like the imitation of delusion that someone more earnest than Gallo would make, with the cracks of patience, of humanity, of reality coming through in beautiful abstraction. Gallo's philosophies on the matter seem complicated, fractured to the point of genuine self-awareness or an accidental understanding. Like he doesn't fully get what makes his story so compelling, but he quite gracefully stumbles his way into an equal poignancy as a less morally atrocious director would achieve if they tried their hand at the same exact thing. That speaks in part to Gallo's own talent, and in part to just how fascinating it is to watch his bizarre ideas take shape toward and beyond his own intentions.

Puffin liked these reviews