- 1998 Sundance Film Festival
Following his arresting performances in such films as The Funeral and Palookaville (Sundance 1996), Vincent Gallo trumpets his arrival as a premier filmmaker with the dazzling Buffalo 66. Remarkably assured in his multiple roles of director, lead actor, composer, and screenwriter, Gallo delivers on his lofty ambitions in this captivating (and at times comedic) drama of contemporary alienation.
On an icy morning on the industrial outskirts of Buffalo, New York, Billy Brown is released from the state penitentiary after a five-year stint. Before returning home, Billy concocts a more illustrious account of his absence: a high-powered career as a secret agent and marriage to a beautiful woman named Wendy. Looking to bolster his narrative, he impulsively grabs a young tap dancer, Layla, and forces her to play Wendy. Though only barely congenial to Billy, his parents Jan and Vincent are beguiled by “Wendy,” who is only too happy to ingratiate herself into this absurdly dysfunctional family. Angry and dejected, Billy turns his attention to hunting down the Buffalo Bills kicker whose botched field goal he believes ruined his life. However, as he “spans time” with Layla, Billy is torn between acting out his violent vendetta or overcoming his allergy to intimacy.
Saturated with Lance Acord’s sumptuous visuals, Buffalo 66 is a hallucinatory triumph of shot composition and editing. With his formidable visual lexicon, Gallo suggests he has drunk from the cup of breakthrough seventies cinema. However, the film is all Gallo’s and without doubt one of the most breathtakingly innovative adventures in recent cinema.
Vincent Gallo, Director
Born in Buffalo in 1962, Vincent Gallo is a model, painter, musician, and actor with no formal training. After founding a band and having numerous painting exhibits, Gallo began acting in 1983 in The Way It Is (he also wrote and performed the film’s sound track, which won a prize at the Berlin Film Festival). His other acting appearances include The Funeral, Palookaville, The House of the Spirits, The Perez Family, and Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Buffalo 66 marks his first film as a director.
— Rebecca Yeldham