Vincent Gallo

Buffalo ’66 (1998, Vincent Gallo)

Near as I can recall, outside film noir, there isn’t a film like Buffalo ’66. The protagonist, played by writer/director/composer Gallo, isn’t just unlikable, he’s comically unlikable. I can very easily see the film remade with Will Ferrell in the lead. It’s like a Will Ferrell comedic tragedy, only it’s not so tragic.

I don’t really know how to talk about the film, since it’s almost more a gesture than a narrative (Gallo’s insistence on making his character such a ogre isn’t actually the problem, it’s more how he’s not willing to give anyone else a real character), so I guess I’ll just ramble.

As a director, Gallo’s got multiple personality disorder. Besides being high contrast, the film rarely looks uniform. Instead, he goes for what’s most effective scene-to-scene without taking previous scenes into account. For example, he’s got a car conversation with the actors looking into the camera, Demme-style. He doesn’t return to it. Then there’s the overly distinctive dinner scene (an intended, recognized homage). It’s actually not disjointing, just because Gallo and Christina Ricci are basically in every scene.

Buffalo ’66 is from the era when Christina Ricci was going to be a great actress. She’s fantastic in it, overcoming her thinly written character (Gallo apparently couldn’t come up with a conceivable reason she’d like him in the film). It’s terrible she hasn’t been able to fulfill her nineties promise.

It almost goes bad at the end, but doesn’t. It’s a great save.



Directed by Vincent Gallo; screenplay by Gallo and Alison Bagnall, based on a story by Gallo; director of photography, Lance Acord; edited by Curtiss Clayton; music by Gallo; produced by Chris Hanley; released by Lions Gate Films.

Starring Vincent Gallo (Billy Brown), Christina Ricci (Layla), Ben Gazzara (Jimmy Brown), Mickey Rourke (The Bookie), Rosanna Arquette (Wendy Balsam), Jan-Michael Vincent (Sonny), Anjelica Huston (Jan Brown) and Kevin Corrigan (Rocky the Goon).

Moscow Zero (2006, María Lidón)

Someone read the script to Moscow Zero and wanted to direct it? I guess given the director goes by an alias (Luna) instead of her name–she’s like the female, Spanish McG or something–it should be a surprise. What is a surprise is the presence of Val Kilmer and Rade Serbedzija in this piece of nonsense.

Well, I’m only guessing at the presence of Val Kilmer. I never saw him before I stopped watching the film–between the bad, creepy ghost bad guy video effects and the little kid turning out to be a ghost (apparently), I’d had enough.

Kilmer does a lot of bad movies these days and I guess him being in this bad movie shouldn’t be a surprise (I’ll bet they paid his airfare to Moscow). It’s a tragedy no one comes along and gets him into a role an actor of his ability deserves.

But Serbedzija… him I can’t understand. His character is essentially a nutty professor who is searching the Moscow underground for Hell. Except there’s nothing really made of whether it’s literally Hell or some mythic Hell. He talks to himself the entire movie. It’s awful.

Vincent Gallo is the ostensible lead and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him lead a movie before. It’s a shock Moscow Zero didn’t end up in Hell right away under his terrible guidance. However, the revelation he’s a priest, coming moments before he makes eyes at Oksana Akinshina is something to see.

“Luna” is a joke.



Directed by María Lidón; written by Adela Ibañez; director of photography, Ricardo Aronovich; edited by Elena Ruiz; music by Javier Navarrete; produced by Dolo Magan; released by Valentina Pictures.

Starring Vincent Gallo (Owen), Oksana Akinshina (Lyuba), Val Kilmer (Andrey), Sage Stallone (Vassily), Joaquim de Almeida (Yuri), Rade Serbedzija (Sergei), Alex O’Dogherty (Pavel), Julio Perillán (Alec Miller) and Joss Ackland (Tolstoy).

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