Six Men Getting Sick

Buffalo ’66
January 2, 2009, 00:34
Filed under: 1990`s

fvbu1buffalo-66-postersInfo: Already drunk on the notion of self-indulgence, actor Vincent Gallo’s debut as a writer and director will likely prove a love-it-or-hate-it affair for most viewers, with the hates outnumbering the loves. Dominating the screen in a flurry of aggressive method acting, Gallo makes no attempt to make his hateful loser of a protagonist the least bit sympathetic, a choice far easier to admire than to endure. In a film about redemption, it might not be asking too much for viewers to have a stake in the process. Visually, Gallo presents an abundance of ideas, most transparently copped from John Cassavetes and the French New Wave. The problem isn’t a reliance on past masters — what directors of the past 40 years haven’t borrowed from Cassavetes and the New Wave? — but an inability to synthesize the ideas into a cohesive whole. Strange asides and odd visual flourishes seem to take place solely because they can without any regard for the overall piece. Every flash of talent the film displays tends to get undermined by Gallo’s lack of discipline, his work occasionally resembling a student film that happens to feature some name actors. All of these hold up their end admirably: Christina Ricci in particular delivers a performance that almost makes it possible to overlook the fact that her character is a transparent fantasy figure. Those who tap into the enthusiasm that clearly drives Gallo might be able to overlook such flaws, but for most, Buffalo ’66 will likely prove an off-putting exercise in showy tedium.

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