Buffalo '66

Buffalo '66 ★★★★½

“Guess what happened today. I got a girl, alright? I got a girl. There’s a girl who loves me, and she’s very pretty, and she’s very nice and she loves me.”

Vicent Gallo is commonly known for being strange and commonly hated for his political views, needless to say I was a bit standoffish about watching this, but the plot was really interesting to me so I gave in. Billy, fresh out of prison, kidnaps Layla and forces her to pretend to be his newlywed wife as he is set to visit his parents, whom he doesn’t have the greatest relationship with.
It starts off slow, with a nice setup to the story but the weirdness of it all can be sort of overwhelming for a big part of the film. At first glance, some of the characters are annoying and the actors seem to be overacting a bit, but luckily that changes and makes sense as the film goes on.

The story, as strange and undeniably wrong as it is, becomes increasingly entertaining and turns into something unexpected as you get to know the characters a bit better. Billy might be not be a model citizen (as he is, well, a kidnapper) but in the outside he pretends to be something he’s not. He acts cold, mean and indifferent. He doesn’t seem to care about anyone in his life, but in the inside he is hurt, confused and misunderstood. He is lacking a human connection which led him to become the apathetic, unlikable person that he is, while in reality he is longing for change. Meeting Layla becomes that change for him, he kidnaps her in an effort to keep up a lie, but unbeknownst to him she would later turn his life upside down for the better. She grows to like him, and in turn falls in love with him (maybe not really, but at least it’s hinted that she might have).
Towards the end, Billy’s life takes a complete 180° turn after Layla reassures her she cares for him by saying “Billy, I just want you to know i think you’re the sweetest guy in the world, and the most handsome... and I love you.” Those words completely changed Billy’s perspective and brought him back to life. Now having Layla in his life gave some meaning to it and gave him the affection he so desperately desired and needed.

On a more technical note, it is shot very strangely, with weird unstable takes and some editing that makes no sense, but in the end it’s not all that bad. Christina Ricci was the best part of it. Her performance brought the film together and at the times where things seemed to be a bit off, she put it all together and kept me watching.

Considering the kind of person Gallo is I wish I didn’t like this as much as I did, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think it was great. I can definitely see myself coming back to it.

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