Vincent Gallo

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7.0 Buffalo '66 (1998)
5.8 The Brown Bunny

Vincent Gallo debuted with Buffalo '66 (1998), a quirky comedy about people at the bottom of the social ladder who basically have no life and try to create one for themselves. It is a film about searching for a sense of purpose. Gallo uses a number of odd camera techniques to depict Billy's flow of consciousness. Occasionally documentary, his storytelling style is light and comic. Discharged, a man leaves a penitentiary in a barren snow-covered landscape. As he waits for the bus on a bench, screens inside the screen show his memories of his incarceration. The bus arrives as he feels the urge to pee. At the bus station, he desperately looks for a restroom, but they are all closed. As his quest continues in the nearby streets, going from restaurant to restaurant, he ends up in a building where some people are taking dance classes. He loses his temper when finally enters the restroom only to meet a voyeur. He borrows a coin from an extremely attractive petite blonde girl to make a call to his mother (without even thanking the girl). The girl eavesdrops on him, as he tells lies to his mother, pretending he is staying from an expensive hotel. His mother does not believe him, and, again, he loses his temper and hangs up. The girl walks in front of him and he grabs her, kidnaps her, forces her to get into her car and drive him to an isolated place, where he can finally releases himself, while the girl calmly waits for him in the car. Then he gets back into the car and asks her to pretend she's his wife and to visit his parents. She doesn't feel fear and only asks for his name: Billy.
The encounter with Billy's parents is embarassing at best. His father refuses to even look at Billy. His mother doesn't even remember that he is allergic to chocolate. On the other hand, they both like the "daughter in law", Layla. She is, after all, simply enchanting, although still scantily clad in her dance costume. It doesn't look like Layla minds at all what is happening to her. While initially Billy looked like the deranged character, we now realize that there is something truly wrong with Layla, not Billy. She seems to enjoy playing the role of the wife. Slowly, we realize that Billy's parents are no less psychologically unstable. His mom, in particular, is obsessed with videos of old football games. Oddly enough, Billy did care all those years about his parents, as several flashbacks in the middle of the screen recount.
A flashback shows how Billy got into trouble: he bet on a game and lost a huge amount of money to a bookie who, in return for waiving the debt, asked him to confess to a crime that he didn't commit. Billy was innocent.
Layla even tells the old folks that she is pregnant.
Next stop is Billy's favorite bowling alley, where Layla introduces herself as his wife even though she doesn't have to anymore. He was a bowling champion and shows off, playing by himself. She does a tap-dance routine on the hardwood. Next stop is an automated photo booth, where Billy wants to take pictures of them for his parents. They argue like they are husband and wife, although they hardly touch each other (in fact, he seems "allergic" to being touched). Billy never feels attraction for her. She does not feel attraction for him.
At a restaurant, they meet Billy's old flame, Wendy, who makes fun of him while making out with her date in front of him. Layla, again, comes to the rescue, claiming that Wendy looks creepy and that he deserves better than that. Far from being grateful, Billy gets angry at her. But then, in the bathroom, alone, Billy cries. Now it looks like Layla wants to follow Billy and Billy is beginning to get annoyed by her presence.
Billy contemplates taking revenge on the football player who lost the game that cost him all those years in jail. Billy found out that this man is now running a business of exotic dancers.
They take a hotel room. Billy keeps Layla at arm's length. Layla gets closer and closer to him until she manages to slip into the bath-tub with him. They lie down in bed without moving or talking. Billy doesn't even look at her. Layla grabs his hand. Billy takes it away, as if he were scared. She kisses him. Finally, he lets her hug him. In the morning, she even tells him that she loves him.
He is clearly uncomfortable with her affection. On the other hand, Billy keeps calling a retarded friend, Goon, whom he calls "my best friend". This retarded friend is about the only person that Billy likes to talk to.
After one more call to Goon, Billy walks into the nude club of the former football player, pulls out the gun and shoots the fat, semi-naked man who is partying with three naked girls. Then Billy points the gun to himself and commits suicide... But it is only a thought. Billy walks out of the club without uttering a word. He is a changed man. He calls Goon and tells him he has a girlfriend who loves him. He walks into a store and buys drinks and food for Layla, and even leaves a tip. He is a changed man: happy, lively, relaxed.
Layla comes from nowhere and does not seem to have a past. They are merely characters in search for a story. They find the story when they find each other.
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