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AMERICAN BUFFALO is another story of men's interminable struggle toward the top of the heap, a goal which ultimately and inevitably eludes most of us. Don Dubro, the proprietor of a dusty dark inner-city junk shop, holds court there with his friends and makes plans probably on a daily basis for his ascendancy to the top. He does this more out of habit than hope because he's long ago surrendered his future to the daily repetition of his life as guardian of the discarded remnants of others' possessions. Disheveled Teach, on the other hand, is either too dumb or too stubborn to accept the lot life has dealt him. Instead, he bucks like a wild horse under the saddle and refuses to be broken. Most pitiable of the trio which populates the movie is teen-aged Bobby. Mistaking much of the palaver which passes between the older men as pearls of wisdom, Bobby is the only one of the trio who still has a chance to make a life for himself somewhere beyond this tired too-familiar neighborhood. Don ... Written by
Mark Fleetwood <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Times Square Restaurant in Pawtucket, RI was renamed the Riverside Diner to fit the script of this film. As of 2010, it is still called the Riverside Diner, although the elaborate neon marquee that stood on the building several years after filming has been replaced by a simpler sign. See more »
American Buffalo is definitely a curious little film, basically a play committed to celluloid, with only three actors and almost all taking place in the one location. However due to good direction by Michael Corrente, a great dialogue heavy script by David Mamet (based on his play) and a trio of excellent performances it works, and works more or less perfectly.
Dustin Hoffman here is at his peak as a small time crim, while Dennis Franz is excellent as his pawn shop buddy and Sean Nelson is also more than holds his own and is very good as young wannabe scammer. But basically this is Hoffman's show, and he is quite something to see as the explosively tempered, ranting, whining, complaining 'Teach' firing off a hundred words a minute. In fact his performance alone is worth the price of admission...which is good as the crux of the story, while thankfully well told, is admittedly somewhat slight.
American Buffalo is definitely not for everyone, however for those looking for a great, superbly performed drama and don't mind the fact that it relies more on talk than action need look no further that this great slice of entertainment.
One man's opinion. 8.5/10
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