AMERICAN BUFFALO is a confusing, plot-less, nihilistic, obscene, verbose, tiresome movie based on a play by David Mamet. Without entertainment, insight or redeeming value, it is a throw-away movie that tries to bring a little of the theater onto the silver screen. Dennis Franz of television’s NYPD BLUE stars as Donny, an antique store operator in New York City. He endures the constant ravings of a card-playing buddy called Teacher, played by Dustin Hoffman. Donny has a little helper named Bob, a street-wise black boy who acts as a gopher and informer. When Donny and Teacher decide to steal a coin from a buyer who gave them a raw deal, they discover that Bob and another associate got to the coin first.
This movie is only 88 minutes long, but it packs a full-two hours worth of dialogue into it. Most of it comes from Teacher who speaks faster than he thinks. At one point in the movie, Donny tells him, “You tire me out.” The fact that most of his language is obscenities doesn’t help. Based on a stage play, the screen version is just as cramped as a stage. AMERICAN BUFFALO has no clear story or plot, is thematically pointless and is confined to a few dark locations. Because it is pointless, and is utterly nihilistic, AMERICAN BUFFALO should fade away into obscurity.
(H, LLL, V, D, M) Nihilistic, humanist worldview featuring a plan for a crime; 147 obscenities & 9 profanities; mild violence including man strikes boy's head causing blood loss & man destroys antique shop; smoking; and, gambling