Buffalo Soldiers | Chicago Reader

Buffalo Soldiers

Based on a novel by Robert O'Connor, this black comedy about American soldiers running amok in West Germany was placed under house arrest at Miramax after the World Trade Center bombings and collected dust for two years before finally being released. The Pentagon probably hates this, so I wish I liked it more, but since the ostensible hero (Joaquin Phoenix), a supply clerk at an army base in Stuttgart, is lining his pockets by manufacturing heroin for his fellow soldiers, I have a hard time caring what happens to him. Director Gregor Jordan offers plenty of corrosive laughs—there's a riotous set piece in which two GIs, stoned out of their minds, get lost during a tank maneuver and plow through a town square—but the absence of any moral center makes this a bitter pill. With Scott Glenn, Anna Paquin, and Ed Harris, wonderful as Phoenix's weak-willed commanding officer. 98 min.

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