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Billy is released after five years in prison. In the next moment, he kidnaps teenage student Layla and visits his parents with her, pretending she is his girlfriend and they will soon marry (and forcing her to say the same). Written by
Outstanding script, great characters; fine film all around
I am a non-fan of ex-con movies; I find Dustin Hoffman's critically acclaimed STRAIGHT TIME especially odious, for instance. Accordingly, I was about to stop watching BUFFALO '66 during the first scene. Thankfully, I kept the tape rolling to be ultimately rewarded by one of the best indie films I have ever seen. Vincent Gallo has put together an excellent character study set against the grimy, subfusc background of his home town.
Christina Ricci deserves the near-unanimous praise she has received for her eminently appealing, understated portrayal of a cooperative kidnaping victim. The spectrum of expressions that chase across her lovely heart-shaped face in the photo booth is especially memorable. This is not to take anything away from Gallo's acting though. His rhythmic, repetitious remonstrations are quite addictive, and I have since found it difficult to keep from imitating his verbal style while dealing with people at work. Ben Gazzara and Angelica Huston are also outstanding as parents in a family so dysfunctional it makes the subjects of AMERICAN BEAUTY look like something out of the Donna Reid Show. A nearly unrecognizable Mickey Rourke shows up in a great cameo as a bookie.
Fans of local color will also like BUFFALO '66. Gallo has a similar eye for his old stomping grounds that the Coen brothers did for theirs in FARGO, but Gallo's execution is more subtle and at least as rewarding.
Bottom line: just stick with it through the opening scene, and you'll find gold here.
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