firestriker’s review published on Letterboxd:
don’t know what else to say about this that hasn’t been said already, but fuck it I will try
vincent gallo the ye of movies
been reading a lot about Gallo lately and from what I have read it seems like Gallo’s reputation has been built up as arrogant, rude and that he is really egotistic, and I am not surprised about that last part since his first film is titled “Vincent Gallo as Flying Christ” lol which is a really fake film cuz we all know underdog exist so saying that statement is complete utter bullshit. anyways Gallo’s performance in Buffalo 66 showed another side of Gallo entirely. It sorta plays out like a self portrait. In his performance and gallo’s overall unique direction of the movie, you noticed gallo’s passion and his dedication towards art as he uses a lot of inspiration from films of different eras in his films. like some parts are very familiar to parts of the french new wave, containing jump cuts that obscure the scene while also featuring a type of editing that sees the screen become a puzzle of different frames giving visual exposition. while also having similarities to the 70s hollywood movies with a focus on a flawed male character and a distinctly suburban and grainy version of the movies vision of what america is in their film. all these different stylistics traits creates a distinct and never before seen voice of gallo own imagination. vicente gallo is a fucking nerd.
that kind of thing is kinda like the beauty of art huh. as art transcend you to the creator’s imagination/psyche. reasons like that are reasons why I love artists like kanye west as we all know how egotistical he is but his music reflects the more emotional side of him that perfectly lets you get captured in his dark fantasy and feel tremendous heartbreaks. not to mention i love it when artists have huge egos and can immediately back that up with albums that’s better than most artists entire careers. they stand out to me as it feels like they are speaking to me cuz even though i hate to admit it, i can be very egotistical sumtimes. the same thing applies to vincent gallo.
gallo uses a huge(we talking like the ego your 10 year old self had when you got a ben 10 watch) variety of different stylistic traits, like filming the movie on reversal stock that gives the movie a high color saturation for example to transfer the feelings of his character, Billy Brown to the audience. contrasting colors of orange and blue represent the characters' feelings towards one another. For example, when they are taking pics in the photo booth, they use an orange background, normally representing warmth and excitement, it feels like a warm bath. however, the ironic part about this is that the warm and autumn colors the movie uses also represent the dysfunctionality of their relationship, as billy tries to portray him and layla as a loving and perfect couple. they then switch to a blue background, reflecting Layla's characteristic color and representing how she takes over Billy's emotions.
also quick side note: who the fuck names their kid billy 😐 nah i am being deadass that kid is just gonna get bullied.
At first glance, you would think that Billy Brown is a fucked up person since he decided to kidnap Layla(played by Christina Ricci) and he always insults people just so he could improve his ego, constantly acting superior to everyone around him. However, the more you dive deeper into Billy Brown’s life the more you connect and care about his character. his character is filled with insecurity and buffalo 66 focuses on itself on trying to learn why someone would turn out like this starting with the family. Like his parents for example. When his parents were introduced it is revealed why he is the way he is. They are uncaring and completely unsupportive towards Billy. The mother even says to him wishing he wouldn't have been born just so she wouldn't have missed the game. His dad also yells at him for every little thing. You can even tell by the body language(most notable is the family dinner) that both Billy and his parents are both very uncomfortable and it helps that the cinematography in Buffalo 66 helps fulfills the awkward tension the movie was trying to achieve. It's also worth noting that another reason why it’s easy to connect to his character since Gallo’s performance was really believable, it actually feels like a human being with struggles. It’s compelling and very mesmerizing to watch. I think making Billy Brown look like an insane person at first glance plays with the movie’s themes as Buffalo 66 is a critique on how society views mentally ill people. Society is so quick to call people with mental illness insane and don’t bother helping them out and trying to understand their issues and showing care. It really does feel like a self portrait of Vincent Gallo like he is acknowledging the worst things about himself. Ricci pulled off Layla’s innocence effortlessly. It feels like the purpose of Layla’s character was designed to be a wake up call to Billy to change his self destructive ways while also made to make a compelling contrast with billy. that is where the other theme of Buffalo 66 comes from. It shows that love and compassion can lead to somebody’s redemption in life, despite me not being able to relate to that theme my ancestors still felt it. at the end we saw 2 sides of Billy. a hot headed motherfucker who acts like cod gamers and the more vulnerable and insecure side of him. after viewing this i also saw 2 sides of vincent gallo aswell. an egotistical and arrogant kind of guy and also a film nerd who gets mad and writes a whole essay(i aint reading all that 💀) on why something should be an 8.8/10 instead of an 8.3/10 but actually has sum real talent and phat bangers.
buffalo 66 is a movie about a broken character that i sadly find a lot of myself in and reaches such a high sense of realism that it becomes very tragic to watch. knowing that it just embodies the notion that there’s always someone who can bring out the best in you and it’s such a genuine and human theme to explore. somehow it's comfy and refreshing too.