Sunday, November 8, 2015

Buffalo 66

Movie Name: Buffalo 66
Year of Release: 1998
Director: Vincent Gallo
Stars: Vincent Gallo, Christina Ricci, Ben Gazzara, Mickey Rourke, Rosanna Arquette, Jan-Michael Vincent, Anjelica Huston, Kevin Pollak, Alex Karras
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

Synopsis & Review:
Vincent Gallo's debut feature premiered at the Sundance Film Festival of 1998 to considerable acclaim. The actor/director then mostly well known for Abel Ferrara's "The Funeral" and Emir Kusturica's "Arizona Dream", created an impact with his feature debut which he also wrote (with Alison Bagnall). The film follows the story of Billy Brown, a recently released convict who dreads going back home to visit his parents. In desperation, Billy kidnaps Layla from a tap dancing class and pleads with her to impersonate his wife and to accompany him. Much to Billy's surprise, Layla takes to her role enthusiastically. She breaks through to obsessive Buffalo Bills football fans Janet and the hard-edged Jimmy, Bill's parents.
1998 was a successful year for independent films, with a slew of them making it all the way to the Academy Awards. Vincent Gallo's "Buffalo 66" was one of the most iconic ones, since it presented his point of view in such a unique, stylish and personal way (it also helped that it had Christina Ricci then breaking away from her child actress persona and roles - that same year she was in the well received "The Opposite of Sex" directed by Don Roos). The film manages to present all the quirky characters that make the bulk of the narrative in a way that is fresh and compelling. In terms of style and concept, the film feels closer to the perspective of Gus Van Sant, but the director amps up the visual and stylistic approach. The film is indeed the vision of its director and star, bordering on self reverence, and though some of the characters feel contrived and under-developed, the flaws make it an interesting film to view and experience.The group of actors is fantastic with Christina Ricci, Ben Gazzara and Anjelica Huston all creating quirky characters, that end up bringing edge, humor and heart to the story. A good film worth revisiting.