Buffalo '66

Buffalo '66 ★★★★½

You're either on board with the Billy Brown character or you're not. He's an asshole, there's no denying it. He's a broken man, but aren't we all? Do we not all have unfulfilled wishes, unachievable dreams, and disappointing pasts, at least to some extent? Are we prepared for what life throws at us? Billy Brown is you and me, however exaggerated he may be. And yet in some ways, he is not an exaggeration. He is completely, utterly human.

This is the Vincent Gallo show; that much is obvious. Written (in part) & directed by and starring himself, he has this movie on creative lockdown. And that's okay. That's great, actually, because he knows exactly what he wants to do: tell a compelling story. So many filmmakers get caught up in making grand statements and rocking the audience to the core with their themes. *cough*Lars von Trier*cough*. A filmmaker's first priority should be to tell a good story and to let it and the characters speak for themselves. If the writing is good enough, the audience will get it. Gallo trusts his audience. Buffalo '66 is full of little moments, in fact you could argue that the entire movie is comprised of little moments, but it still moves forward with such hurtling momentum and with such believability that it feels as thrilling as a Hollywood blockbuster. This is due largely to a knockout cast, all playing people as flawed as Gallo's Billy. But flawed doesn't automatically equate to compelling. What makes these characters so compelling is that they're fleshed out so well in so little time. Their mannerisms and idiosyncrasies are all unique and brilliantly executed. (Anjelica Huston is almost unrecognizable.)

Buffalo '66 is the portrait of a man, but I would argue that it is a portrait of Man. There's a lot of power in this movie, and a lot of beauty, too.

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