Projections - Movie Reviews

Buffalo Soldiers

Buffalo Soldiers

A flawed, yet impassioned Buffalo Soldiers unfolds as a sly, subversive war story with Joachim Phoenix's Ray Elwood at its center.

His U.S. Army Specialist is a black market dealer on a West German base just before the Berlin Wall's demise in 1989.

Director Gregor Jordan, who hails from Australia co-wrote the script, but hasn't gained many admirers for the much postponed film because it satires the government and military .  Ironically, the film premiered at film festival screenings close to the tragic events of 9/11.

Elwood can redistribute hard drugs like heroin as easily a Mop 'n Glo in his environment.  He is able to get away with a lot in his battalion, tricking his decent, but gullible superior - Ed Harris' Colonel Berman.  Berman appears to overlook the wrong doings around him because his adulterous wife (Elizabeth McGovern) has him preoccupied with promotion.

Buffalo Soldiers also has a few others complicating the steely-eyed Elwood's milieu.  Anna Paquin plays Robyn, who becomes allured to this sharp Cold War industrious military man.  Robyn's father is the tough-minded Sergeant Lee (Scott Glenn).  He's a Vietnam vet onto this contemporary Milo Minderbender.  Another obstacle for Elwood is the imposing MP, Sergeant Saad, acted by Sheik Mahmud-Bey.

Some of the strands in this derisive comedy similar to Catch 22 never really catch fire.  But there are intense scenes, especially one with tanks.  The nature of the characters, many driven by drugs, won't be that agreeable for some.  Yet, Jordan handles it all with a shiftiness that Phoenix (Gladiator) handles with a certain dexterity as Buffalo Soldiers turns unexpectedly on its wanton, corruptive side.

Buffalo Soldiers

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