Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Buffalo '66, dir/wr. Vincent Gallo, st. Vincent Gallo, Christina Ricci, Anjelica Huston, Ben Gazzara

Whatever his bizarre-o off-screen antics (refusing to do any press since The Brown Bunny's universal disparaging in 2003, offering an impregnation service under the 'merchandise' section of his website) Vincent Gallo's douce-amere love-story is an absolute gem of a film, and hats off to him for turning in a note and pitch-perfect script, a cracking performance, some subtle and moving direction, a discerning selection of originally composed and existing music, and all packaged in the most diaphanous of plots. Gallo plays the quasi-autobiographical Billy Brown, who, fresh out of the clink, impulsively kidnaps Layla (Ricci) in order to present her to his parents as his wife, hoping the subterfuge will explain his lengthy absence. En-route, and in true fairytale fashion, we meet an increasingly goofy assortment of characters, from his disabled best friend Goon, to his parents Jan and Jimmy (played with nightmarishly manic glee by Huston and the late Gazzara). There are some moments of the kind of stagey, electrifying improv you rarely get in film, and a delightful array of filming techniques and tropes that neatly fold in to the semi-hallucinatory style. Best of all though, is Gallo himself; irritating, naive and charismatic by turns, he presents the most unlikely protagonist, an uncertain and stubborn leading man, and a relationship between Billy and Layla that's entirely irresistible.