Gregor Jordan's film takes place in Germany during the last days of the Cold War. Stuck on duty as Batallion Clerk at a US Army base in West Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Ray Elwood (Joaquin Phoenix) maintains a lucrative sideline in blackmarket trade under the nose of his superiors - and is even sleeping with the wife of his boss, Colonel Berman (Ed Harris). Things begin to change, however, when a new sergeant (Scott Glenn) arrives and tries to clean up the base. Elwood thinks he can handle anything, even the sergeant's daughter (Anna Paquin), but he doesn't realise who he is up against.
Good movie, entartaining, well-acted and generally satisfying. Nothing fancy, and delightfully free of pretension. By no means a classic, and the ending could have been better, but all in all a solid movie :-)
Brilliant film with Joaquin Phoenix on top form as a corrupt army quartermaster and the ensuing chaos upon the arrival of a new sergeant. Set in West Germany during the early 1980's the film is an amalgam of various incidents on an army site as described to the author, the prevailing notion of utter boredom resulting in drug taking, black marketeering and murder. Joaquin's laid back acting underplays the amorality of his character, dope dealing and selling army supplies to local criminals. He is Sergeant Bilko on steroids as he attempts to sell a huge cache of guns and missiles, worth millions of dollars. This is when Scott Glenn's tough as nails Master Sergeant arrives and cottons on to what is happening.
There are some stand out moments in the movie, notably the stoned out tank crew who shoot up on heroin and heaven only knows what else, and proceed to crush an October Fest celebration in a small German town. The acting by the spaced out commander is hysterically funny, brilliant moment. At the end of the film the drugged out soldiers in a basement drugs laboratory is awesome, great cinematography and a real atmosphere of narcotic fumes. This is when boiling point is reached with the explosive finale.
In the fine tradition of war comedies like Dr Strangelove, MASH and Catch 22, Buffalo Soliders succeeds admirably in sending up the crushing tedium of men at arms, with some marvellous set pieces. There is a lack of films like this with black anarchic comedy, instead we are presented serious studies which have a similair homogeneity. Tyrants always fear the satirist.
In a summer crowded with huge scale blockbuster movies desgined to 'wow' you with spectacle, it always refreshing when a small scale film comes along and lays all the blockbusters to bed because basically, its just better. Buffalo soldiers is a black comedy of the highest calibre, set on an American base in Germany around the fall of the Berlin wall. However, rather than taking the usual path of portraying american soldiers as patriotic ultra-commandos, we get an image of some very bored layabouts with some VERY big drugs problems. Focusing around the central character of Ray Elwood (a career best for the fantastic Joaquin Phoenix), the soldier who will deal in absolutely anything to get himself some money, the plot quickly turns nasty. When a new First Sergeant arrives on the base and starts to take a dislike to Elwood (not helped by the fact that he's going out with his daughter, the lovely Anna Paquin). What follows is an escalating spiral of spite and revenge as Elwood begins to realise the dangers of his chosen professions, both dealer and soldier. With a superb supporting cast (including Ed Harris playing, for once, a soft-hearted military man, and Scott Glen as Elwood's nemesis) and razor sharp wit, this film takes you into army life as you've never seen it before. Frequently swinging between hilarity (a tank full of junkies mindlessly plowing a German town into the ground), and horrific (said tank eventually plowing into a petrolo station and killing a fair few people doing so), its not suprising that this film didn't perform too well in America. The script brings a lot of quite dark issues such as drugs, murder and mindless violence into stark focus, but by keeping its tongue in its cheek for the most part, what could have been a very depressing affair transforms into one of the best films of the year (despite being made for 2001 it was delayed in its relase). There are some faults, the script does drag in places (the romantic scenes in particular) and this film could be offensive if you have a high opinion of our stateside cousins. The presentation of the lazy and bored Elwood in opposition to the militaristic, and probably a little psychotic First Sergeant ("the secret to Vietnam was simple, I f***ing loved it) always has you rooting for Elwood and feeling sorry for him not being allowed to deal drugs and weapons in peace. This is perhaps testament to the brilliance of the script and as it reaches its thrilling climax your perception of the US military and the anti-blockbuster may be changed forever. Without doubt one of the most intelligent, funny and dramatic films of the year with all of the cast at the top of their game, this is an essential purchase for anyone who's ever wondered what would happened if M*A*S*H had gotten the Trainspotting treatment. Superb
Director Gregor Jordan (director of the rubbish movie Ned Kelly) presents us with a world of the Buffalo Soldiers wherein men are fired up for combat, but resort to power games amongst themselves that become violent. Not just beatings, but resorting to murder as well. These are bad men doing bad things. They are so wrapped up in their own obsessions with domination that they don't even know if they're in East Germany or West Germany. The humour is edgy, as with the soldier who died at the start during the indoor football game, found filled with drugs - including a birth control pill he took by mistake. Buffalo Soldiers skillfully shows that the peace can be just as crazy as the war. The ost music by David Holmes is everybit as good as anything he composed for the Oceans 11 or Oceans 12 movies. 7/10. .
I picked Buffalo soldiers from the video store on the spur of the moment hoping for something a little different and i certainly wasn't dissapointed. Film had some hilarious moments of black humour that find you claping your hand over your mouth in suprise at the outragous circumstances that Phoenix's character get's himself into (check the car scene!). The clever script takes you through hatred to pity and then fondness for Phoenix's corrupt anti hero character. The supporting cast or Ed Harris and Anna Paquin were also brilliant, definately well worth seeing.