Buffalo '66

Buffalo '66 ★★★★½

Buffalo '66 is about an underloved man-child who's unable to properly cope with the minor traumas he's been afflicted with from his parents who abuse him but in ways that border acceptability – and in some ways it is hard to fully condemn them – and as such he's grown into a cold, hostile anti-socialite who thinks nothing but the worst in people as he pushes away his only friend who still somewhat cares about him, a friend who is getting (justifiably) tired and frustrated at all the mistreatment coming from a man who never learned how to actually communicated healthily in non self-destructive ways.

Said man-child also kidnaps a woman who ends up becoming his manic-pixie-dream-savior with no identity of her own outside of suddenly realizing she loves him after repeatedly attempting to "fix" him (sounds a lot like trauma bonding, doesn't it) and even in the end only serves as a convenient and coincidental catalyst for our man-child's character growth, a moment of awakening that finally allows him to take control of his life and be the very best he was meant to be. Meanwhile she's still a complete enigma outside of her context to him.

"I've had to go to the bathroom for hours. I've been backed up, totally backed up."

So this is not a movie I should like, this is a movie that should annoy me and repel me and disappoint me and somehow it's not. Somehow Vincent Gallo, through some sheer miracle (or perhaps actual directorial talent) has crafted the film to feel both at once a genuine embrace of this grossly-typical story of growth while also making it seem fake, farcical, even far-fetched. Everything is washed-out and gritty yet it somehow feels distant and abstracted, characters are so brutally honest that they no longer feel real, and dialogue is so outrageously non-sequitur that we're not sure what's serious and what's not.

Somehow Vincent Gallo has made a movie that's a complete pastiche of its origin, neither satire nor boilerplate but a lovingly earnest acknowledgement instead. Buffalo '66 really does live up to its reputation as a film that can only be described as, "Buffalo '66."

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