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Buffalo Soldiers 2001

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3.9 out of 5 stars (32) IMDb 6.9/10
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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.

Starring:
Scott Glenn, Elizabeth McGovern
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 34 minutes
Starring Scott Glenn, Elizabeth McGovern, Dean Stockwell, Gabriel Mann, Anna Paquin, Joaquin Phoenix, Leon, Ed Harris
Director Gregor Jordan
Genres Comedy
Studio 4DVD
Rental release 29 December 2003
Main languages English
Hearing impaired subtitles English

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: DVD
Buffalo Soldiers is an original film with a wonderfully sharp script. Set during the demise of the Berlin Wall in an army base in Germany, Elwood (Phoenix) is in to making money by whatever means he can. He has no respect for the army and even less for authority.
In comes Elwood's sadistic new CO (Scott Glenn) who takes an instant dislike to him. In retaliation to the CO's resulting act's, Elwood starts to date his daughter (Anna Paquin) and what was a game to Elwood quickly becomes very serious.
As Elwood struggles to keep a grip on the ensuing situations, drugged up soldiers provide a surprising comedy aspect and you find yourself smiling (or even laughing) at some quite horrific things. The film gives off a real sense of doom as you wait for something really bad to happen, and even though undeserving, you find yourself rooting for Elwood.
This film is a refreshing and welcome change to the usual American soldier portrayal (which is probably why it didn't do so well in the US) and the superb supporting cast (Ed Harris was originally offered the part of the CO but wanted the part of the soft-hearted military man) along with the witty dialogue and awesome soundtrack makes this film a must buy for me. It won't be everyone's cuppa, so I will not tell you to be fooled by any bad reviews. If in doubt, rent it first.........then BUY IT!!!!
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Format: DVD
A satire of the blackest hue featuring a raft of great performances, most notably Ed Harris, hilarious as a henpecked, incompetent officer. Not to be taken too seriously as a portrait of the US army (think Bilko on acid), but nonetheless hilarious viewing.
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Format: DVD
Buffalo Soldiers was made in 2001, infamously acquired by Miramax on September 10th 2001 (...or so the story goes). It's without dispute that the climate of Bush Jr's neo-con America & the McCarthy-exhumation that has been the so-called 'War on terrorism,' made it impossible for this film to exist. It was much easier to use Black Hawk Down as a balm instead- & a rise in dull-right-wing military adoration: Collatoral Damage, DC9-11: Time of Crisis, would the right win out in Hollywood? Buffalo Soldiers, like Gangs of New York & (bizarrely) Hero would be sat on anyway...
Which is a shame as there's much to commend Buffalo Soldiers, which shares the same edgy approach towards America and much of what it stands for as The Doom Generation,Fight Club, Natural Born Killers,The Rules of Attraction, & Three Kings. Buffalo Soldiers is the kind of film that doesn't have an issue with criticising a certain kind of America: one that is in thrall these days.
It also belongs to a classic American-genre, across the mediums, one that shows the other side of war to that glamorous militarist-ideology peddled by distant generals, or more distant chickenhawk-politicians. So it can be filed alongside texts such as Catch 22, The Naked & The Dead, Dog Soldiers/Who'll Stop the Rain, Biloxi Blues, the first half of Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, Tigerland & a whole lot more (& yes I did think about saying something like,"Sgt Bilko on amphetamines!")
The film is a little plotless, then again so is Withnail & I and that's fine, thank you very much. The always watchable Phoenix is ideally cast here as our hero- stuck at the end of the Cold War in West Germany, bored out of his idiot-head over the lack of actual war.
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