Monday, 29 June 2009

BUFFALO 66 (dir: Vincent Gallo)

BUFFALO 66 (dir: Vincent Gallo)

Buffalo 66 is a wonderful and generous movie steeped in positive dysfunction and ultimately finding happiness in grave and exciting circumstances.

As a professional arsehole Vincent Gallo has created a truly great persona over the years. Where the person ends and the spiel begins is a truly grey area but it is also a great area where he lives without fear when it comes to investigating and challenging the more troublesome moments of the human experience. This is an amazing film and do not let anyone tell you otherwise.

I have had many bittersweet moments attached to watching this movie. Over the years I have watched it frequently, never tiring of the tale and often discovering new touches with each additional viewing. When I first came across it Sky Movies was regularly showing it in the early hours and more than once I would find myself cutting a night out early to head home and watch it in the hope that one my life may resemble the movie as opposed to the fruitless ritual I would have just undertaken. Later as I attempt to mould my greatest affection around to my way of thinking I bought the movie on video at Clacton Indoor Market with view to us both watching it at her flat. It never happened. Later as I moved to London (Harlesden) for the first time this was a movie I ordered online and got delivered to the studio where I was working. As my boss sorted through the post that day he asked me what it was and whether it was any good. Words failed me. This was later the boss to whom I suggested our mutual boss work with Gallo for some music credibility. I should have been fired on the spot.

This movie is wish fulfilment of the toughest kind. It is genuinely and strangely positive in its execution. From the off you side with Billy Brown as he struggles with his bladder upon release from prison. If you can’t associate with one thing then you can certainly associate with the other. The intensity of his pain and agony is assisted by a number of frequent and jagged cuts occurring in tandem with his discomfort and offering the audience a slight taste of the sensation.

As things progress seldom do they improve for Billy, just how difficult is it to find a place to piss in the modern the age/day? Truly the fact that you have to pay to urinate in certain train stations surely represents the breakdown of civilisation. This is not a metaphor.

Eventually Billy goes but not before a scaly moment and a backhanded compliment (with a homophobic air). By now he has grabbed Layla (Christina Ricci) and proceedings have truly become complicated. At this time I was knocking about with a girl with fashion aspirations who would eventually become a lesbian and truly this is how I should really have treated her. I doubt she could tap-dance either.

As the background story begins to slowly unravel via a hideous family and dubious friends/acquaintances it all serves to abstain of blame for his situation. Slowly as we grasp an understanding of the character we warm to him, perhaps more than we expect. Several times pathos here is of the must subtle muster.

He is a strong man crumbling.

Before things can get better, they have to get worse and the arrival of Wendy Balsam (the Rosanna Arquette character) serves as a truly poignant and uncomfortable moment. This could easily have been a girl from my school called Becky. In the tiny moment that Layla says “she is so creepy and you are so nice” finally there is a small glimpse of positivity for Billy Brown.

From here it is a movie made of great moments that all build up to an astounding finale and explanation as to where things have been headed all the long. This is supposedly semi autobiographical but in what kind of negative fantasy land part of Gallo’s mind does it exist? Likewise with his little confessions and admissions, do they really work and not find the guy being laughed out of the room? This is Royal Trux reality.

I hate to admit it but the bedroom scene at the hour and a half mark is one similar to an incident of my own from late 2007, one that was always doomed to failure and lacked certain ingredients required to lead to this kind of love. This is not a movie to be taking cues from.

How much are the heart cookies?

Half John Cassavetes (the grime and look) and half David Lynch (Brown Snr singing and the bowling alley tap-dancing) with this ensemble Gallo truly outdid himself combining rising stars (Christina Ricci, Kevin Corrigan) with established legends (Ben Gazzara, Anjelica Huston) and getting rejuvenated performances out of has-beens (Mickey Rourke, Jan-Michael Vincent) that are serve to sprout an understated masterpiece.

This only occurs once in a lifetime, once in a career.

1 comment:

Marc said...

Just watched it. Totally pertaining.