This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Ricky Lai’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
see also: alexis' review
i was thoroughly enjoying it until I realised the romance was actually going to happen. I didn't want to just stand at a cowardly distance and applaud what I did appreciate, I wanted to fully believe in a character arc (of which layla has none, by the way).
i loved the general ethos of buffalo '66, and it would all have developed perfectly if there was any reasonable suggestion of why layla has genuine feelings for billy given how awfully she is treated, and aside from only being an indescript plot device for billy's supposed redemption, it leaves me with one interpretation: it is down to sheer proximity. layla is at least a teenager, at most a young adult in her 20s. she seems encompassed by the fear of being left alone, the fear of losing somebody who has given you a presence or something to live by, the fear of losing that person who you believe is giving you validation, no matter how horrifically they are treating you; the way this can warp somebody's self-esteem and self-dependence, even personal freedom leaves me even more furious that her character's development has a large gap that hinders how charitably I could perceive billy's arc. it hurt to watch only because it felt like a cinematic mirroring of a too-familiar situation and with no reprehension either. it left me furious, and though it doesn't press you to forgive billy, necessarily, it does still press you to believe that everything is going to be okay for him (and them) in the end. and, honestly, will it? and is that really deserved?
this one is a real shame because the movie is actually really fucking good! it provokes dark chuckles, the presentation is eerie and wonderful, there's weight under billy's character and his behaviour, and the cast do entice me. but the aftertaste is yucky