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- Buffalo Soldiers
- Runtime:98 min
- Release Date:2014-03-20 19:05:03
- Director: Gregor Jordan
- Genres: Comedy, Crime, Drama, Thriller, War
MOVIE REVIEW:Buffalo Soldiers
The buffalo soldiers of history were primarily African -Americans who
distinguished themselves and the American military. It is particularly
inappropriate as the African-Americans in this movie, except for a
walk-on or two, are presented as similar to those in The Birth of a
Phoenix does both drama and comedy. Those actors who did this best,
Cary Grant and George Clooney, for example, can flash a grin and have
an attitude that says "have fun with me" to the audience. Phoenix,
instead, shows an inane grin and floats clumsily through the movie, as
if on some drug. There is an element of joy in his demeanor as he
amazes himself (and us) by remembering a line.
Surprisingly, this is a comedy genre: the service comedy: a picaresque
hero stealing and conning his way to a comfortable berth. The hero is
harried by a tough but dumb sergeant. Same here but things get
particularly bloody with some sex thrown in by an unfaithful wife and
ungrateful daughter There isn't a likable character in the whole film,
while the plot has been done so often that there is no tension at all
in it.It isn't funny at all.
Buffalo Soldiers brings to the screen the harsh reality that war might
indeed be hell but that peace is *epletive deleted* boring. While that
may upset a lot of viewers and a lot of patriots it makes for a damn
fine, black comedy.
The movie is set in West Berlin during peacetime, just about when the
Berlin Wall is about to come down, a time when soldiers have to keep
boredom at bay. Joaquin Phoenix plays Ray Elwood, a modern and young
Sgt. Bilko who just happens to also deal in drugs and weapons as
opposed to harmless gambling and desirable liquor. All is going well
for Elwood. He gets on great with his Colonel (played by Ed Harris),
gets on even better with the Colonel's wife (Elzabeth McGovern) and has
all of the little comforts that makes his room a home rather than just
another army bunk. That's all put in jeopardy when Sergeant Lee (Scott
Glenn) appears on the scene. While trying to pull off a deal of a
lifetime, Elwood decides to tackle Sergeant Lee's animosity head on by
. . . . . . dating the Sergeant's daughter (Anna Paquin). Surely not a
Phoenix is really superb here, just the right mix of brains and balls
when they count, Harris is wonderful in a rare comedic role, Glenn is
intimidation incarnate and Paquin is just the right shade of cute.
Written and direct by Gregor Jordan, based on the book by Robert
O'Connor, Buffalo Soldiers is sharp, smart and very funny from start to
finish. It has a great cast, a great script and a number of
entertaining story strands that interweave nicely as things build to a
finale that will see our immoral protagonist either reap rewards or
fall a hell of a long way.
Blending a lot of familiar ideas (I already mentioned Bilko but we
could add Stripes, In Good Company, Lord Of War, Tin Men and many more
to the list) into something fresh and hip, viewers may feel
uncomfortable with the level of casual violence that occurs now and
then but it works in the context of the film because, no matter what
else is going on, these are men trained to kill.
If you watch this movie and aren't grinning widely by the time it gets
to the fantastic tank scene (you'll know it when you see it) then you
may want to just give up. Anyone loving the movie by then though
should, hopefully, continue to enjoy themselves right up until the very
When I first saw this movie, I think it was after it came to DVD in
late 2003 or early 2004. I really liked it and though I couldn't follow
what it was about at the time, I decided to see it again today.
I still remember every scene, and what really drew me in was the
atmosphere of the film, a black comedy, but also a movie about a lone
wolf who's an anti-hero, the best anti-hero I've ever seen. This movie
puts soldiers in Western Germany in 1989 just after the Cold War ended
and the Berlin Wall was about to fall. What's amazing is that boredom
gets the best of these soldiers, especially for our main character.
This film explores the life of a stationed drug dealer soldier and of
course, not without some great humour. I will admit, I do hate indie
films and indie directors, but this is the best indie film I have ever
seen, it almost feels like a mainstream Hollywood movie, but in a good
way. I absolutely love the time period and the location, it makes me
feel like I'm at home in Romania.
It's really thanks to Jacquin and his amazing, under-rated acting that
make me appreciate the anti-hero character he portrays. I like the
setup of the story because to those bored soldiers, their duty is like
serving time in prison, so they have to find good recreational
activities to do so they can kill off their boredom, and what better
way to do that than make drugs, steal weapons and sell them for a nice
wad of cash.
This is one of those rare feel-good films that make you care about the
character a lot, his struggles, and his fears. No matter how wrong you
think what he's doing is, you still end up rooting for him in the end.
Anti-Hero characters are always neutral, so they fight for their own
cause. That may seem selfish, but in a world full of bad guys and good
guys, the anti-hero must choose his own destiny and he'll let the good
fight the evil as much as they want as long as neither get in his way.
Truly under-rated film of the decade, if you're from Europe, or are in
the military, and you have some friends over at your house, then order
some pizzas, some nachos, and enjoy this film. I sure did, and I sure
need to read the book as well, which is much more darker than the
movie, apparently. I don't know why this is not in the top 250, but it
deserves a spot in the top 20's.
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