Film review: Buffalo 66 (1998)

Haven’t seen any film quite like this indie. Its definitely one of my top films viewed in 2011. Don’t judge the film on the dreadful trailer. I found it to be very original and the atmosphere unique, and that says a lot, as I have seen a ton of independent films over the years.

Written, directed by and starring Vincent Gallo, his directorial debut, it was filmed in and around Gallo's native Buffalo, New York. The parents house was actually Gallo's childhood home.

Has a twisted black humour I really enjoyed, not laugh out loud stuff, but made me chuckle on many occasions.

Amusing how the self-confident female character Layla played by Christina Ricci is kidnapped, but actually sort of enjoys it after a while. She seems sad when she first meets Billy, crying in the bathroom, what is the matter with her current life you wonder?

I was impressed by the inventive use of camera techniques and angles. You can tell they are playing around with the visual medium, super 8 film, flashbacks, etc. The same cinematographer would later go on to make such visually creative films as Being John Malkovich and Lost In Translation.

Spoiler alert! The story is not just a comedy or about kidnapping, also you realize its a character study about the two main characters past. Layla, the odd but tenderhearted tap dancer who provides Gallo's Billy Brown with the only true love he has ever received. Billy Brown, a man who has spent so much of his life pining for love and tenderness that he doesn't know how to deal with it once it is staring him in the face. His character is meant to be a pain in the arse, always whining. Not likeable, but you are drawn to him anyway.

I don’t think the film has any big message, that’s not the point for me. It’s more about having a laugh and watching some quirky characters on a journey.

There was a unique use of music during the running time, which I liked and had never heard before, here are a few highlights from the soundtrack:
Moonchild - King Crimson
Heart of the Sunrise – Yes
Sweetness – Yes

At the time, Empire listed it as the 36th greatest independent film ever made.

Highly recommended, if you enjoy unconventional, independent cinema.

Thanks to Alex at boycottingtrends for the recommendation!

Readers, any thoughts on Buffalo 66 ?




  1. I've heard of this movie but never saw it. I'll have to add it to my un-ending list!

  2. A very strange and wonderful movie, something you don't see everyday, recommended ( :

  3. Vincent Gallo is a very interesting character, I read an in-depth article about him some time ago and I loved it! The movie is officialy on my To See list! Thanks

  4. @Aziza: I don't know much about Vincent Gallo, he sure has an interesting face!
    You're welcome, I'll keep an eye out for a future review then ( :

  5. I love this movie! It's a fantastic comedy and a brilliant indie movie. I am definitely a fan of Vincent Gallo, especially his follow-up film THE BROWN BUNNY which many hated but I loved. I definitely recommend it.

  6. LOVED Mickey Rourke in this flick. Intimidating, charming, and utterly wicked. A perfect cameo.

  7. Really glad you enjoyed this. Wonderful sense of atmosphere, great, inventive camera-work, and, yes, love the soundtrack.

  8. @Tyler : Buffalo 66 is funny, agreed, hoping my little review can spread the word!

    @Alex Withrow: Mickey Rourke can't have had many minutes of screen time, yet he still left an impression, its funny how we remember certain segments, as in life I guess. The only person missing in this movie is Christopher Walken, I think he would fit in just fine, ha ha ( :

    @Alex Ramon: Yes, the whole package took me by surprise, as I started my review by saying, I have never seen anything quite like this film

  9. Dude, You definitely liked this movie way more than I did but still I do agree that it is very different from any other movie I know. And I am glad that we agree on character study aspect of this film.

    1. @SDG: Thanks for reading! I think we can agree on Buffalo 66 is very different from any other movies, which I why I think it deserves praise.

  10. I had the pleasure of seeing this film opening night in Santa Monica, California. This film is one of my favorite indy films and I still find myself quoting the movie quite often. Sadly not everyone has seen it or heard of it and my references go quietly into the night.

    1. @Scott Anderson: Was a great surprise, and I just HAD to review Buffalo 66, so my readers could discover this wonderfully quirky indie film. No, not enough people have seen it! Thanks for dropping by, Scott.


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